The Life and Times of John Bunyan
Faith Cook, 528 pages
John Bunyan is well known as the author of The Pilgrim's Progress, the seventeenth-century spiritual classic which has been the second best-selling book in the world after the Bible. He was also a much-loved preacher and pastor whom crowds flocked to hear after his release from prison. One contemporary wrote that he 'could weep for joy most part of his sermons'. But how did Bunyan become such a preacher and writer? In this book you will discover the path which prepared him to be greatly used as a pastor to his own generation and a guide to Christ's pilgrim people still. In this new and well-written biography Faith Cook relates John Bunyan to the turbulent times through which he lived, surviving two periods of imprisonment in Bedford prison, sustained by his faith, determined, as he himself wrote "to live upon God that is invisible." Faith Cook avoids the temptation of merely regarding Bunyan as one of the great figures of English literature. That he certainly is, but he is so much more - a physician of souls, much-loved pastor and powerful preacher of the gospel of grace. The authoress skilfully relates her subject to the political history of his times, in which nonconformists won a greater measure of freedom to worship according to their understanding of the Bible during the Cromwellian period, only to be restricted again after the Restoration of the monarchy in 1660. Bunyan emerges from this book as a writer of plain yet remarkably imaginative prose, steeped in an amazing knowledge of the English Bible. That knowledge is not just textual: it is deeply experimental, the fruit of much meditation, as The Pilgrim's Progress particularly shows.