The Protestant Trial and Incarceration of John Bunyan
By Evangelist Bill Bradley
15:20, “Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater
than his lord. If they
have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also.”
John Bunyan (1628-1688) was a Baptist preacher, a pious man, and a man well-beloved by all who knew him. John Bunyan was incarcerated in the Bedford jail in England. The following account is taken directly from a transcript of the trial on October 3, 1660, that led to his imprisonment at Bedford:
Judge Wingate: "Mr. Bunyan, you stand before this Court accused of persistent and willful transgression of the Conventicle Act, which prohibits all British subjects from absenting themselves from worship in the Church of England, and from conducting worship services apart from our Church. You come, presumably, with no legal training, and yet without counsel. I must warn you, sir, of the gravity of the charge, the harshness of the penalty, in the event of your conviction, and the foolhardiness of acting as your own counsel in so serious a matter. I hold in my hand the depositions of the witnesses against you. In each case, they have testified that, to their knowledge, you have never, in your adult life, attended services in the Church of this parish. Each further testifies that he has observed you, on numerous occasions, conducting religious exercises in and near Bedford."
John Bunyan: "The depositions speak the truth. I have never attended services in the Church of England, nor do I intend ever to do so. Secondly, it is no secret that I preach the Word of God whenever, wherever, and to whomever He pleases to grant me opportunity to do so. I have no choice but to acknowledge my awareness of the law which I am accused of transgressing. Likewise, I have no choice but to confess my guilt in my transgression of it. As true as these things are, I must affirm that I neither regret breaking the law, nor repent of having broken it. Further, I must warn you that I have no intention in the future of conforming to it."
Judge Wingate: "It is obvious, sir, that you are a victim of deranged thinking. If my ears deceive me not, I must infer from your words that you believe the State to have no interest in the religious life of its subjects."
John Bunyan: "The State, M lord, may have an interest in anything in which it wishes to have an interest. But the State has no right whatever to interfere in the religious life of its citizens."
Judge Wingate: "The evidence I hold in my hand, even apart from your own admission of guilt, is sufficient to convict you, and the Court is within its rights to have you committed to prison for a considerably long time. I do not wish to send you to prison, Mr. Bunyan. I am aware of the poverty of your family, and I believe you have a little daughter who, unfortunately, was born blind. Is this not so?"
John Bunyan: "It is, M'lord."
Judge Wingate: "Very well. The decision of the Court is this: In as much as the accused has confessed his guilt, we shall follow a merciful and compassionate course of action. We shall release him on the condition that he swear solemnly to discontinue the convening of religious meetings, and that he affix his signature to such an oath prior to quitting the Courtroom. That will be all, Mr. Bunyan. I hope not to see you here again. May we hear the next case?"
John Bunyan: "M'lord, if I may have another moment of the Court's time?"
Judge Wingate: "Yes, but you must be quick about it. We have other matters to attend to. What is it?"
John Bunyan: "I cannot do what you ask of me, M'lord. I cannot place my signature upon any document in which I promise henceforth not to preach. My calling to preach the Gospel is from God, and He alone can make me discontinue what He has appointed me to do. As I have had no word from Him to that effect, I must continue to preach, and I shall continue to preach."
Judge Wingate: "I warn you, sir, the Court has gone the second mile to be lenient with you, out of concern for your family's difficult straits. Truth to tell, it would appear that the Court's concern for your family far exceeds your own. Do you wish to go to prison?"
John Bunyan: "No, M'lord. Few things there are that I would wish less."
Judge Wingate: "Very well, then, Mr. Bunyan. This Court will make one further attempt in good faith to accommodate what appears to be strongly held convictions on your part. In his compassion and beneficence, our Sovereign, Charles II, has made provision for dissenting preachers to hold some limited meetings. All that is required is that such ministers procure licenses (author's note: Please re-read the explanation on license versus liberty found on page 79 of this book.) authorizing them to convene these gatherings. "You will not find the procedure burdensome (author's note: It is always less burdensome to comply and compromise than it is take a stand.), and even you, Mr. Bunyan, must surely grant the legitimacy of the State's interest in ensuring that any fool with a Bible does not simply gather a group of people together and begin to preach to them. Imagine the implications were that to happen! (author's note: Yeah, people might even begin to get saved and get right with God!) Can you comply with this condition, Mr. Bunyan? Before you answer, mark you this: should you refuse, the Court will have no alternative but to sentence you to a prison term. Think, sir, of your poor wife. Think of your children, and particularly of your pitiful, sightless little girl. Think of your flock, who can hear you to their hearts' content when you have secured your licenses. Think on these things, and give us your answer, sir!"
John Bunyan: "M'lord, I appreciate the Court's efforts to be as you have put it - accommodating. But again, I must refuse your terms. I must repeat that it is God who constrains me to preach, and no man or company of men may grant or deny me leave to preach. These licenses of which you speak, M'lord, are symbols not of a right, but of a privilege. Implied therein is the principle that a mere man can extend or withhold them according to his whim. I speak not of privileges, but of rights. Privileges (licenses) granted by men may be denied by men. Rights are granted by God, and can be legitimately denied by no man. I must therefore, refuse to comply."
Judge Wingate: "Very well, Mr. Bunyan. Since you persist in your intractability, and since you reject this Court's honest effort at compromise, you leave us no choice but to commit you to Bedford jail for a period of six years (author's note: which ultimately proved to cost Bunyan twelve years of his life behind bars). "If you manage to survive, I should think that your experience will correct your thinking. If you fail to survive, that will be unfortunate. In any event, I strongly suspect that we have heard the last we shall ever hear from Mr. John Bunyan. Now, may we hear the next case?"
Of course, neither Judge Wingate nor the world had heard the last of John Bunyan, for during his lengthy incarceration in the old Bedford jail, with his Bible as his constant companion and guide, Bunyan gave to the world the epic Pilgrim's Progress, arguably the greatest literary work in the history of the world next to the Bible. Bunyan was denied pen and paper, and Pilgrim's Progress was written with pieces of charcoal from the fire that kept his body warm on the paper wads used as stoppers in the milk bottles from which he drank.
SOURCE: “Purified Seven Times,” by Evangelist Bill Bradley, pp. 89-92.
END OF ARTICLE
The Trail Of Blood (.PDF book by James Milton Carroll, 1852-1931 | Chart)
The Superiority Of The King James Translators | 2 | 3 | 4 (excellent, Pastor Max D. Younce)
Dr. James Sightler: Defender Of The Inspiration Of The King James Bible!
Psalms 116:15, “Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints.”
inspired Words of God are in the King James Bible!”
—Dr. Jack Hyles (an awesome quote —Dr. Jack Hyles (THE REAL BATTLE!”)
“And brother, any time anybody ever casts any reflection upon the accuracy and the inspiration—verbal inspiration—of this Bible, I'll guarantee you he was inspired by the demons. I'll guarantee you! I don't care if he's got a 'reverend' in front of his name. I don't care if he has a clerical collar on. I don't care what school he's been to. He's of the Devil if he says that the Bible is not verbally inspired by God!” —Dr. Jack Hyles, a great quote from the awesome MP3 sermon titled, “Satan's masterpiece.”
BATTLE OF THE AGES (MP3 by Dr. Hyles, “The King James Bible crowd is going to come out on top!”)
“The opposite of love is not hate, it's indifference. The opposite of art is not ugliness, it's indifference. The opposite of faith is not heresy, it's indifference. And the opposite of life is not death, it's indifference.” ―Elie Wiesel
I am appalled at the indifference amongst professed Christians today concerning the corrupting of God's Word. They just don't care which Bible is God's Word. I'm talking about thousands of shameful apostate religious colleges today, that are INDIFFERENT toward the hundreds of perverted English Bibles, all of which are the Devil's way of depriving people of the true and pure Word of God. Consequently, there are many false plans of salvations being taught in the churches today, mainly the heresy of manmade repentance, aka, Lordship Salvation. Here is a truthful quote from Pastor Jack Hyles...
“God has a
special rebuke, again and again and again in the Bible,
toward those people who keep their neutrality in the work of God!”
—SOURCE: Dr. Jack Hyles, a quote from the great MP3 sermon, “Where Were You In The Battle?”
“The Lord gave the
word: great was the company
of those that published it.” —Psalms 68:11
“How sweet are thy words unto my taste! yea,
sweeter than honey to my mouth!” —Psalms 119:103
3rd John 1:8, “We therefore ought to receive such, that we might be fellowhelpers to the truth.”
“Do all the good you can. By all the means you can. In all
the ways you can. In all the places
you can. At all the times you can. To all the people you can. As long as ever you can.” ―John Wesley
Why There's A Hell (MP3 sermon by Pastor Danny Castle)
“In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God,
and that obey not THE GOSPEL of our Lord Jesus Christ.” —2nd Thessalonians 1:8
Ye Must Be Born Again! | How to Be Saved
You Need HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS!!!