He spent eleven years in jail
John Bunyan died on August 31, 1688. It was the year that England was delivered from popish tyranny. His birth took place the same year as the passage of the “English Bill of Rights.” Bunyan represents a great host of Baptists who loved liberty of conscience and were dedicated to their Lord and the principles of His Word. Bunyan was a prisoner for preaching the glad tidings of salvation. He refused a license from the State Anglican Church to preach. The King gave him a license but he refused to sign it and spent an additional six months in prison. Bunyan had attended the Baptist meetings and regularly preached some four years before his release in the 11th year. The congregation chose him for their pastor and he accepted. Only a man like Bunyan could exercise his pastoral office in preaching among them as he continued a prisoner in jail. So loving was Bunyan’s disposition that the jailer was tender toward him all the time. He not only allowed Bunyan to visit his church frequently with a guard, and to preach the gospel elsewhere, but he permitted his blind daughter Mary to visit him regularly, with such little gifts as she could bring him. During the Republican rebellion 71 Quakers, and 20 Baptists and Independents were released from jail along with Bunyan. He immediately began his ministry of visiting the sick, preaching from house to house, and planting churches in the villages. He preached to crowds in London numbering 1200 for morning lectures and 3,000 on the Lord’s Day. While he was yet in prison, his little Mary entered the “Celestial Gate” as a true “shining one” to watch and wait for his coming.
Dr. Greg J. Dixon: From: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins/Thompson, pp. 359-60.
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