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John Bunyan died AUGUST 31, 1688


John Bunyan died AUGUST 31, 1688

Pilgrim's Progress first edition 1678 American Minute with Bill Federer

He was imprisoned 12 years for preaching without a license from the government.

This was John Bunyan, who died AUGUST 31, 1688.

Born in Bedford, England, John Bunyan was a poor, unskilled tinker by trade.

In 1657, at age 29, he became a Baptist minister and was arrested for having religious meetings, being imprisoned 1660-1672 and 1675-1676.

John Bunyan wrote in a Relation of My Imprisonment:

The justice…issued out his warrant to take me…

as if we that were to meet together…to do some fearful business, to the destruction of the country;

when alas! the constable, when he came in, found us only with our Bibles in our hands, ready to speak and hear the word of God…

So I was taken and forced to depart…

But before I went away, I spake some few words of counsel and encouragement to the people, declaring to them…

that they would not be discouraged, for it was a mercy to suffer upon so good account…We suffer as Christians…

Better be the persecuted, than the persecutors.”

During his imprisonment, John Bunyan supported his family by making shoelaces.

It was during this time that he began writing The Pilgrim’s Progress, eventually published in 1678.

It was an allegory of a pilgrim, named Christian, who fled from the City of Destruction and was directed by Evangelist to follow the straight and narrow path.

He overcame temptations, depressions, deceptions, and persecutions till he reached the Celestial City of Zion.

The friends and dangers that Christian met along the way inspired many subsequent novels, such as:

Mark Twain’s Innocents Abroad or the New Pilgrim’s Progress (1869);

C.S. Lewis’ Pilgrim’s Regress (1933); and

L. Frank Baum’s Wizard of Oz (1900).

John Bunyan’s The Pilgrim’s Progress was translated into over 100 languages and, after the Bible, was the world’s best-seller for hundreds of years.

It was found in nearly every colonial New England home, along with the Bible and Fox’s Book of Martyrs.

Ben Franklin wrote in his Autobiography:

From a child I was fond of reading, and all the little money that came into my hands was ever laid out in books.

Pleased with The Pilgrim’s Progress, my first collection was of John Bunyan’s works in separate little volumes….”

Franklin continued:

My old favorite author, Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress…has been translated into most of the languages of Europe, and suppose it has been more generally read than any other book, except perhaps the Bible.”

President Grover Cleveland had memorized The Pilgrim’s Progress as a youth, commenting:

I have always felt that my training as a minister’s son has been more valuable to me as a strengthening influence than any other incident in life.”

President Theodore Roosevelt stated while laying the cornerstone of the office building of the House of Representatives, April 14, 1906:

In Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress you may recall the description of the man with the muck-rake,

the man who could look no way but downward, with the muck-rake in his hand, who was offered a celestial crown for his muck-rake,

but who would neither look up nor regard the crown he was offered, but continued to rake to himself the filth of the floor.”

President Franklin D. Roosevelt wrote January 19, 1936:

When Theodore Roosevelt died, the Secretary of his class at Harvard, in sending classmates a notice of his passing, added this quotation from Pilgrim’s Progress:

My sword I give to him that shall succeed me in my pilgrimage, and my courage and skill to him that can get it.

My marks and scars I carry with me, to be a witness for me that I have fought His battles who now will be my rewarder.’”

President Bill Clinton remarked at the Retirement of General Colin Powell in Arlington, Virginia, September 30, 1993:

General Powell, I am reminded of the words of another young valiant warrior, spoken when, like you, he was finishing one journey and beginning a second.

John Bunyan wrote in Pilgrim’s Progress of the warrior valiant at the end of his life, as he prepared to present himself to the Almighty,

My sword I give to him that shall succeed me in my pilgrimage and my courage and skill to him that can get them. My marks and scars I carry with me to be a witness for me, to Him who shall be my rewarder.’”

President Ronald Reagan greeted Australia’s Prime Minister, June 30, 1981, referring to John Bunyan:

Robert Louis Stevenson wrote, ‘We are all travelers in what John Bunyan calls the wilderness of this world.

And the best that we find in our travels is an honest friend – they keep us worthy of ourselves.”

John Bunyan’s The Pilgrim’s Progress began:

As I walked through the wilderness of this world, I lighted on a certain place where was a den, and I laid me down in that place to sleep: and, as I slept, I dreamed a dream.

I dreamed, and behold, I saw a man clothed with rags, standing in a certain place, with his face from his own house, a book in his hand, and a great burden upon his back.

I looked, and saw him open the book, and read therein; and, as he read, he wept, and trembled; and, not being able longer to contain, he brake out with a lamentable cry, saying, What shall I do?”

Later in The Pilgrim’s Progress, John Bunyan wrote:

Christian ran thus till he came at a place somewhat ascending, and upon that place stood a cross…

So I saw in my dream, that just as Christian came up with the cross, his burden loosed from off his shoulders, and fell from off his back.”

Further in The Pilgrim’s Progress, John Bunyan wrote:

Then said Christian, You make me afraid, but whither shall I fly to be safe?… To go back is nothing but death; to go forward is fear of death, and life-everlasting beyond it. I will yet go forward…

Frighted with the sight of the lions…Christian said to himself again,

These beasts range in the night for their prey; and if they should meet with me in the dark…how should I escape being by them torn in pieces?…

He lift up his eyes, and behold there was a very stately palace before him… He entered into a very narrow passage…he espied two lions in the way…

The porter at the lodge…perceiving that Christian made a halt as if he would go back, cried unto him, saying,

Is thy strength so small? Fear not the lions, for they are chained, and are placed there for trial of faith where it is, and for discovery of those that had none. Keep in the midst of the path, and no hurt shall come unto thee…

He went on, trembling for fear of the lions, but taking good heed to the directions of the porter; he heard them roar, but they did him no harm…”

John Bunyan continued:

But now, in this Valley of Humiliation, poor Christian was hard put to it…a foul fiend coming over the field to meet him; his name is Apollyon.

Then did Christian begin to be afraid, and to cast in his mind whether to go back or to stand his ground.

But he considered again that he had no armour for his back; and therefore thought that to turn the back to him might give him the greater advantage with ease to pierce him with his darts.

Therefore he resolved to venture and stand his ground…”

John Bunyan wrote further:

The monster was hideous to behold; he was clothed with scales…wings like a dragon, feet like a bear, and out of his belly came fire and smoke…

Apollyon straddled quite over the whole breadth of the way, and said…prepare thyself to die; for I swear by my infernal den, that thou shalt go no further; here will I spill thy soul.

And with that he threw a flaming dart at his breast; but Christian had a shield in his hand, with which he caught it…

Apollyon as fast made at him, throwing darts as thick as hail; by the which, notwithstanding all that Christian could do to avoid it, Apollyon wounded him in his head, his hand, and foot…”

Bunyan concluded:

This sore combat lasted for above half a day, even till Christian was almost quite spent; for you must know that Christian, by reason of his wounds, must needs grow weaker and weaker…

Christian’s sword flew out of his hand.

Then said Apollyon, I am sure of thee now.

And with that he had almost pressed him to death, so that Christian began to despair of life;

but as God would have it, while Apollyon was fetching of his last blow, thereby to make a full end of this good man, Christian nimbly stretched out his hand for his sword, and caught it, saying,

Rejoice not against me, O mine enemy; when I fall I shall arise; and with that gave him a deadly thrust, which made him give back…

And with that Apollyon spread forth his dragon’s wings, and sped him away, that Christian for a season saw him no more…

A more unequal match can hardly be, —
Christian must fight an angel; but you see,
The valiant man by handling Sword and Shield,
Doth make him, though a Dragon, quit the field.”


Bill Federer The Moral Liberal Contributing Editor,William J. Federer, is the bestselling author of “Backfired: A Nation Born for Religious Tolerance no Longer Tolerates Religion,” and numerous other books. A frequent radio and television guest, his daily American Minute is broadcast nationally via radio, television, and Internet. Check out all of Bill’s bookshere.

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HEBREW – Cleave


dāḇaq

Today we meditate on a word of deep significance. The English cleave appears twenty-six times in the OT, all but six of which are translated from dāḇaq (H1692), meaning “to cling to, join with, stay with.” It’s used, for example, in Job_19:20 for bone cleaving to skin, in Job_41:1; Job_41:15-17 of the great sea creature Leviathan, whose scales are tightly fastened together, in Job_38:38 for clods of earth being stuck together, and in Num_36:7 for someone holding on to an inheritance. So hard did Eleazar’s hand cleave to his sword as he fought the Philistines (2Sa_23:10), we could say poetically that the sword became a part of his arm.
More significant, however, is the figurative use of dāḇaq in picturing relationships, especially of their closeness and loyalty. The first appearance of dāḇaq, in fact, pictures the devotion and intimacy of marriage, where “a man [leaves] his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh” (Gen_2:24). David’s men cleaved unto him in loyalty when Sheba rebelled against the king (2Sa_20:2).
Most important, however, are the pictures we see of the loyalty and devotion of God’s people to Him. We read several times of God commanding His people to cleave unto Him (Deu_10:20; Deu_11:22; Deu_13:4; Jos_22:5; Jos_23:8), for such cleaving demonstrates true love for Him (Deu_30:20).
A particularly striking example of such faithfulness appears in Psa_119:31, where the psalmist says to God, “I have stuck unto thy testimonies.” “Stuck” is dāḇaq. In Psa_119:25, David says, “My soul cleaveth unto the dust,” that is, despair was sticking to him as though it were glued. Now, however, it is he who is glued, glued to God’s Word (testimonies, February 17). “While the dust of despair is glued to me,” David says in effect, “I am ever glued to God’s standards.” A woodworker uses glue to join boards together, and so strong is that bond that the board will break in another spot before it will break on that joint. That is how we are to be glued to the Word of God.
Scriptures for Study: What were God’s people told not to cleave to in Jos_23:12? Read the verses in Deuteronomy and Joshua noted above and meditate on your closeness to God.

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161 — June 10 – This Day in Baptist History Past


 

Targets of Persecution

 

Annekin Hendriks – Anabaptist

 

On the 10th of June, 1535, a furious edict was published at Brussels. Death by fire was the punishment on all Baptists who should be detected and should refuse to abjure. If they recanted they were still to die, but not by fire; the men were to be put to death by the sword, ‘the women in a sunken pit.’ Those who resisted the operation of the edict by failing to deliver up Baptists [Anabaptists] to the authorities, were to suffer the same punishment as accomplices.”What a troublesome time in which to live! Religious freedom was unknown to Anabaptists, and they were forced to worship covertly, everywhere because informers were promised one-third of the confiscated estates of the dreaded Anabaptists!

 

Perhaps the actual wording of a portion of the edict might prove enlightening as to the pressures that our forefathers experienced.

 

“In order to provide against and remedy the errors and seductions which many sectaries and authors of mischief, with their followers, have dared to sow and spread in our possessions, in opposition to our holy Christian faith, the sacraments and commands of the holy church our mother; we have at various times decreed…many mandates containing statutes, edicts, ordinances, together with punishments that transgressors should suffer; in order that by such means the common and simple people might guard themselves against the aforesaid errors and abuses, and that their chief promoters might be punished and corrected as an example to all.

 

And it, having come to our knowledge, that…many and various sectaries, even some who are denominated Anabaptist or rebaptizers, have promoted…their said abuses and errors, in order to mislead the same…to the great scandal and contempt of the sacrament of holy baptism, and of our edicts, statutes, and ordinances:

 

Therefore, being desirous to provide against and remedy the same, we summon and command, that, from this time…you make proclamation in all the parts of limits of your jurisdiction, that all who are, or shall be found to be, infected by the cursed sect of Anabaptists, or rebaptizers, of what state or condition they may be, abettors, followers, and accomplices, shall suffer the forfeiture of life and estate, and shall without delay, be brought to the severest punishment.”

 

There are several other paragraphs of the edict, but this example is typical of the many edicts issued by the Roman Catholic and even Protestant leaders who harmonized only at the point of persecuting the re-baptizers. Catholics and some reformers believed that “re-baptism” was a repudiation of the baptism by the state church, which they considered salvation. Anabaptists did not accept “sacramental grace” and “infant sprinkling.” They denied that they were re-baptizers at all! Thank God for grace in Christ and the privilege of obeying His ordinance as a testimony! Praise the Lord for our glorious freedom of religion and liberty of conscience to serve Him without man’s dictates!

 

Dr. Dale R. Hart:: Adapted from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I. (Thompson/ Cummins) pp. 239 -240.

 

 

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THE BIBLE


The Bible contains the mind of God, the state of man, the way of salvation, the doom of sinners, and the happiness of believers.
Its doctrines are holy, its precepts are binding, its histories are true, and its decisions are immutable.
Read it to be wise, believe it to be safe, and practice it to be holy,
It contains light to direct you, food to support you, and comfort to cheer you.
It is the traveler’s map, the pilgrim’s staff, the pilot’s compass, the soldier’s sword, and the Christian’s charter.
Here Paradise is restored, Heaven opened, and the gates of hell disclosed.

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