John Bunyan was an English writer and Puritan preacher best remembered as the author of the Christian allegory The Pilgrim's Progress. In addition to The Pilgrim's Progress, Bunyan wrote nearly sixty titles, many of them expanded sermons. Bunyan came near Bedford, he had some schooling and at the age of sixteen joined the Parliamentary Army during the first stage of the English Civil War. After three years in the army he returned to Elstow and took up the trade of tinker, which he had learned from his father, he became interested in religion after his marriage, attending first the parish church and joining the Bedford Meeting, a nonconformist group in Bedford, becoming a preacher. After the restoration of the monarch, when the freedom of nonconformists was curtailed, Bunyan was arrested and spent the next twelve years in jail as he refused to give up preaching. During this time he wrote a spiritual autobiography, Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners, began work on his most famous book, The Pilgrim's Progress, not published until some years after his release.
Bunyan's years, in spite of another shorter term of imprisonment, were spent in relative comfort as a popular author and preacher, pastor of the Bedford Meeting. He is buried in Bunhill Fields; the Pilgrim's Progress became one of the most published books in the English language. He is remembered in the Church of England with a Lesser Festival on 30 August, on the liturgical calendar of the United States Episcopal Church on 29 August; some other churches of the Anglican Communion, such as the Anglican Church of Australia, honour him on the day of his death. John Bunyan was born in 1628 to Thomas and Margaret Bunyan at Bunyan's End in the parish of Elstow, Bedfordshire. Bunyan's End is about halfway between the hamlet of Elstow High Street. Bunyan's date of birth is not known, but he was baptised on 30 November 1628, the baptismal entry in the parish register reading "John the sonne of Thomas Bunnion Jun. the 30 November". The name Bunyan had its origins in the Norman-French name Buignon. There had been Bunyans in north Bedfordshire since at least 1199.
Bunyan's father was a brazier or tinker who travelled around the area mending pots and pans, his grandfather had been a chapman or small trader. The Bunyans owned land in Elstow, so Bunyan's origins were not quite as humble as he suggested in his autobiographical work Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners when he wrote that his father's house was "of that rank, meanest and most despised in the country"; as a child Bunyan was given some rudimentary schooling. In Grace Abounding Bunyan recorded few details of his upbringing, but he did note how he picked up the habit of swearing, suffered from nightmares, read the popular stories of the day in cheap chap-books. In the summer of 1644 Bunyan lost both his sister Margaret; that autumn, shortly before or after his sixteenth birthday, Bunyan enlisted in the Parliamentary army when an edict demanded 225 recruits from the town of Bedford. There are few details available about his military service, which took place during the first stage of the English Civil War.
A muster roll for the garrison of Newport Pagnell shows him as private "John Bunnian". In Grace Abounding, he recounted an incident from this time, as evidence of the grace of God: When I was a Souldier, I, with others, were drawn out to go to such a place to besiege it. Bunyan's army service provided him with a knowledge of military language which he used in his book The Holy War, exposed him to the ideas of the various religious sects and radical groups he came across in Newport Pagnell; the garrison town gave him opportunities to indulge in the sort of behaviour he would confess to in Grace Abounding: "So that until I came to the state of Marriage, I was the ringleader of all the Youth that kept me company, in all manner of vice and ungodliness". Bunyan spent nearly three years in the army, leaving in 1647 to return to Elstow and his trade as a tinker, his father had remarried and had more children and Bunyan moved from Bunyan's End to a cottage in Elstow High Street. Within two years of leaving the army, Bunyan married.
The name of his wife and the exact date of his marriage are not known, but Bunyan did recall that his wife, a pious young woman, brought with her into the marriage two books that she had inherited from her father: Arthur Dent's Plain Man's Pathway to Heaven and Lewis Bayly's Practice of Piety. He recalled that, apart from these two books, the newly-weds possessed little: "not having so much household-stuff as a Dish or a Spoon betwixt us both"; the couple's first daughter, was born in 1650, it soon became apparent that she was blind. They would have three more children, Elizabeth and John. By his own account, Bunyan had as a youth enjoyed bell-ringing and playing games including on Sunday, forbidden by the Puritans, who held a high view of Sunday, called the Lord's Day. One Sunday the vicar of Elstow preached a sermon against Sabbath breaking, Bunyan took this sermon to heart; that afternoon, as he was playing tip-cat (a game in which a small piece of wood is hit with a
Charles Haddon Spurgeon was an English Particular Baptist preacher. Spurgeon remains influential among Christians of various denominations, among whom he is known as the "Prince of Preachers", he was a strong figure in the Reformed Baptist tradition, defending the Church in agreement with the 1689 London Baptist Confession of Faith understanding, opposing the liberal and pragmatic theological tendencies in the Church of his day. Spurgeon was the pastor of the congregation of the New Park Street Chapel in London for 38 years, he was part of several controversies with the Baptist Union of Great Britain and he left the denomination over doctrinal convictions. In 1867, he started a charity organisation, now called Spurgeon's and works globally, he founded Spurgeon's College, named after him posthumously. Spurgeon was a great author of many types of works including sermons, one autobiography, books on prayer, magazines, poetry and more. Many sermons were transcribed as he spoke and were translated into many languages during his lifetime.
Spurgeon produced powerful sermons of penetrating precise exposition. His oratory skills held his listeners spellbound in the Metropolitan Tabernacle and many Christians hold his writings in exceptionally high regard among devotional literature. Born in Kelvedon, Essex, he moved to Colchester at 10 months old. Spurgeon's conversion from nominal Anglicanism came on 6 January 1850, at age 15. On his way to a scheduled appointment, a snow storm forced him to cut short his intended journey and to turn into a Primitive Methodist chapel in Artillery Street, Colchester where, he claimed, God opened his heart to the salvation message; the text that moved him was Isaiah 45:22 – "Look unto me, be ye saved, all the ends of the earth, for I am God, there is none else." That year on 4 April 1850, he was admitted to the church at Newmarket. His baptism followed at Isleham; that same year he moved to Cambridge, where he became a Sunday school teacher. He preached his first sermon in the winter of 1850–51 in a cottage at Teversham while filling in for a friend.
From the beginning of his ministry his style and ability were considered to be far above average. In the same year, he was installed as pastor of the small Baptist church at Waterbeach, where he published his first literary work, a Gospel tract written in 1853. In April 1854, after preaching three months on probation and just four years after his conversion, Spurgeon only 19, was called to the pastorate of London's famed New Park Street Chapel, Southwark; this was the largest Baptist congregation in London at the time, although it had dwindled in numbers for several years. Spurgeon found friends in London among his fellow pastors, such as William Garrett Lewis of Westbourne Grove Church, an older man who along with Spurgeon went on to found the London Baptist Association. Within a few months of Spurgeon's arrival at Park Street, his ability as a preacher made him famous; the following year the first of his sermons in the "New Park Street Pulpit" was published. Spurgeon's sermons had a high circulation.
By the time of his death in 1892, he had preached nearly 3,600 sermons and published 49 volumes of commentaries, anecdotes and devotions. Following his fame was criticism; the first attack in the press appeared in the Earthen Vessel in January 1855. His preaching, although not revolutionary in substance, was a plain-spoken and direct appeal to the people, using the Bible to provoke them to consider the teachings of Jesus Christ. Critical attacks from the media persisted throughout his life; the congregation outgrew their building, moved to Exeter Hall to Surrey Music Hall. In these venues Spurgeon preached to audiences numbering more than 10,000. At 22, Spurgeon was the most popular preacher of the day. On 8 January 1856, Spurgeon married Susannah, daughter of Robert Thompson of Falcon Square, London, by whom he had twin sons and Thomas born on 20 September 1856. At the end of that year, tragedy struck on 19 October 1856, as Spurgeon was preaching at the Surrey Gardens Music Hall for the first time.
Someone in the crowd yelled, "Fire!" The ensuing panic and stampede left several dead. Spurgeon was devastated by the event and it had a sobering influence on his life. For many years he spoke of being moved to tears for no reason known to himself. Walter Thornbury wrote in "Old and New London" describing a subsequent meeting at Surrey: a congregation consisting of 10,000 souls, streaming into the hall, mounting the galleries, humming and swarming – a mighty hive of bees – eager to secure at first the best places, and, at last, any place at all. After waiting more than half an hour – for if you wish to have a seat you must be there at least that space of time in advance... Mr. Spurgeon ascended his tribune. To the hum, rush, trampling of men, succeeded a low, concentrated thrill and murmur of devotion, which seemed to run at once, like an electric current, through the breast of everyone present, by this magnetic chain the preacher held us fast bound for about two hours, it is not my purpose to give a summary of his discourse.
It is enough to say of his voice, that its power and volume are sufficient to reach every one in that vast assembly.
Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations
The Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations was one of the original Thirteen Colonies established on the east coast of North America, bordering the Atlantic Ocean. It was an English colony from 1636 until the American Revolution in 1776, when it became the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations; the land that became the English colony was first home to the Narragansett Indians, which led to the name of the modern town of Narragansett, Rhode Island. European settlement began around 1622 with a trading post at Sowams, now the town of Warren, Rhode Island. Roger Williams was a Puritan theologian and linguist who founded Providence Plantations in 1636 on land given to him by Narragansett sachem Canonicus, he was exiled under religious persecution from the Massachusetts Bay Colony. He named the settlement Providence Plantation. Williams named the islands in the Narragansett Bay after Christian virtues: Patience and Hope Islands. In 1637, another group of Massachusetts dissenters purchased land from the Indians on Aquidneck Island, called Rhode Island at the time, they established a settlement called Pocasset.
The group included William Coddington, John Clarke, Anne and William Hutchinson, among others. That settlement, however split into two separate settlements. Samuel Gorton and others remained to establish the settlement of Portsmouth in 1638, while Coddington and Clarke established nearby Newport in 1639. Both settlements were situated on Rhode Island; the second plantation settlement on the mainland was Samuel Gorton's Shawomet Purchase from the Narragansetts in 1642. As soon as Gorton settled at Shawomet, the Massachusetts Bay authorities laid claim to his territory and acted to enforce their claim. After considerable difficulties with the Massachusetts Bay General Court, Gorton traveled to London to enlist the help of Robert Rich, 2nd Earl of Warwick, head of the Commission for Foreign Plantations. Gorton returned in 1648 with a letter from Rich, ordering Massachusetts to cease molesting him and his people. In gratitude, he changed the name of Shawomet Plantation to Warwick. In 1651, William Coddington obtained a separate charter from England setting up the Coddington Commission, which made him life governor of the islands of Rhode Island and Conanicut in a federation with Connecticut Colony and Massachusetts Bay Colony.
Protest, open rebellion, a further petition to Oliver Cromwell in London led to the reinstatement of the original charter in 1653. Following the 1660 restoration of royal rule in England, it was necessary to gain a Royal Charter from King Charles II. Charles was a Catholic sympathizer in staunchly Protestant England, he approved of the colony's promise of religious freedom, he granted the request with the Royal Charter of 1663, uniting the four settlements together into the Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations. In the following years, many persecuted groups settled in the colony, notably Jews; the Rhode Island colony was progressive for the time, passing laws abolishing witchcraft trials, imprisonment for debt, most capital punishment and, on May 18, 1652, chattel slavery of both blacks and whites. Rhode Island remained at peace with local Indians, but the relationship was more strained between other New England colonies and certain tribes and sometimes led to bloodshed, despite attempts by the Rhode Island leadership to broker peace.
During King Philip's War, both sides violated Rhode Island's neutrality. The war's largest battle occurred in Rhode Island, when a force of Massachusetts and Plymouth militia under General Josiah Winslow invaded and destroyed the fortified Narragansett village in the Great Swamp in southern Rhode Island, on December 19, 1675; the Narragansetts invaded and burned down several of the cities of Rhode Island, including Providence. Roger Williams knew both Canonchet as children, he was aware of the tribe's movements and promptly sent letters informing the Governor of Massachusetts of enemy movements. By his prompt action, Providence Plantations made some efforts at fortifying the town, Williams started training recruits for protection. In one of the final actions of the war, troops from Connecticut hunted down and killed "King Philip", as they called the Narragansett war leader Metacom, on Rhode Island's territory. In the 1680s, Charles II sought to streamline administration of the English colonies and to more control their trade.
The Navigation Acts passed in the 1660s were disliked, since merchants found themselves trapped and at odds with the rules. However, many colonial governments, Massachusetts principally among them, refused to enforce the acts, took matters one step further by obstructing the activities of the Crown agents. Charles' successor James II introduced the Dominion of New England in 1686 as a means to accomplish these goals. Under its provisional president Joseph Dudley, the disputed "King's Country" was brought into the dominion, the rest of the colony was brought under dominion control by Governor Sir Edmund Andros; the rule of Andros was unpopular in Massachusetts. The 1688 Glorious Revolution deposed James II and brought William III and Mary II to the English throne. With this eve
American Revolutionary War
The American Revolutionary War known as the American War of Independence, was an 18th-century war between Great Britain and its Thirteen Colonies which declared independence as the United States of America. After 1765, growing philosophical and political differences strained the relationship between Great Britain and its colonies. Patriot protests against taxation without representation followed the Stamp Act and escalated into boycotts, which culminated in 1773 with the Sons of Liberty destroying a shipment of tea in Boston Harbor. Britain responded by closing Boston Harbor and passing a series of punitive measures against Massachusetts Bay Colony. Massachusetts colonists responded with the Suffolk Resolves, they established a shadow government which wrested control of the countryside from the Crown. Twelve colonies formed a Continental Congress to coordinate their resistance, establishing committees and conventions that seized power. British attempts to disarm the Massachusetts militia in Concord led to open combat on April 19, 1775.
Militia forces besieged Boston, forcing a British evacuation in March 1776, Congress appointed George Washington to command the Continental Army. Concurrently, the Americans failed decisively in an attempt to invade Quebec and raise insurrection against the British. On July 2, 1776, the Second Continental Congress voted for independence, issuing its declaration on July 4. Sir William Howe launched a British counter-offensive, capturing New York City and leaving American morale at a low ebb. However, victories at Trenton and Princeton restored American confidence. In 1777, the British launched an invasion from Quebec under John Burgoyne, intending to isolate the New England Colonies. Instead of assisting this effort, Howe took his army on a separate campaign against Philadelphia, Burgoyne was decisively defeated at Saratoga in October 1777. Burgoyne's defeat had drastic consequences. France formally allied with the Americans and entered the war in 1778, Spain joined the war the following year as an ally of France but not as an ally of the United States.
In 1780, the Kingdom of Mysore attacked the British in India, tensions between Great Britain and the Netherlands erupted into open war. In North America, the British mounted a "Southern strategy" led by Charles Cornwallis which hinged upon a Loyalist uprising, but too few came forward. Cornwallis Cowpens, he retreated to Yorktown, intending an evacuation, but a decisive French naval victory deprived him of an escape. A Franco-American army led by the Comte de Rochambeau and Washington besieged Cornwallis' army and, with no sign of relief, he surrendered in October 1781. Whigs in Britain had long opposed the pro-war Tories in Parliament, the surrender gave them the upper hand. In early 1782, Parliament voted to end all offensive operations in America, but the war continued overseas. Britain scored a major victory over the French navy. On September 3, 1783, the belligerent parties signed the Treaty of Paris in which Great Britain agreed to recognize the sovereignty of the United States and formally end the war.
French involvement had proven decisive. Spain failed in its primary aim of recovering Gibraltar; the Dutch were compelled to cede territory to Great Britain. In India, the war against Mysore and its allies concluded in 1784 without any territorial changes. Parliament passed the Stamp Act in 1765 to pay for British military troops stationed in the American colonies after the French and Indian War. Parliament had passed legislation to regulate trade, but the Stamp Act introduced a new principle of a direct internal tax. Americans began to question the extent of the British Parliament's power in America, the colonial legislatures argued that they had exclusive right to impose taxes within their jurisdictions. Colonists condemned the tax because their rights as Englishmen protected them from being taxed by a Parliament in which they had no elected representatives. Parliament argued that the colonies were "represented virtually", an idea, criticized throughout the Empire. Parliament did repeal the act in 1766, but it affirmed its right to pass laws that were binding on the colonies.
From 1767, Parliament began passing legislation to raise revenue for the salaries of civil officials, ensuring their loyalty while inadvertently increasing resentment among the colonists, opposition soon became widespread. Enforcing the acts proved difficult; the seizure of the sloop Liberty in 1768 on suspicions of smuggling triggered a riot. In response, British troops occupied Boston, Parliament threatened to extradite colonists to face trial in England. Tensions rose after the murder of Christopher Seider by a customs official in 1770 and escalated into outrage after British troops fired on civilians in the Boston Massacre. In 1772, colonists in Rhode Island burned a customs schooner. Parliament repealed all taxes except the one on tea, passing the Tea Act in 1773, attempting to force colonists to buy East India Company tea on which the Townshend duties were paid, thus implicitly agreeing to Parliamentary supremacy; the landing of the tea was resisted in all colonies, but the governor of Massachusetts permitted British tea ships to remain in Boston Harbor, so the Sons of Liberty destroyed the tea chests in what became known as the "Boston Tea Party".
Parliament passed punitive legislation. It closed Boston Harbor until the tea was paid for and revoked the Massachusetts Charter, taking upon themselves the right to directly appoint the Massachusetts Governor's Council. Additionally, t