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[34] first part of Pilgrim's Progress, we feel as if the mysterious glory of the Beatific Vision was unveiled before us. We are dazzled with the excess of light. We are entranced with the mighty melody; overwhelmed by the great anthem of rejoicing spirits. It can only be adequately described in the language of Milton in respect to the Apocalypse, as ‘a seven-fold chorus of hallelujahs and harping symphonies.’

Few who read Bunyan nowadays think of him as one of the brave old English confessors, whose steady and firm endurance of persecution baffled and in the end overcame the tyranny of the Established Church in the reign of Charles II. What Milton and Penn and Locke wrote in defence of Liberty, Bunyan lived out and acted. He made no concessions to worldly rank. Dissolute lords and proud bishops he counted less than the humblest and poorest of his disciples at Bedford. When first arrested and thrown into prison, he supposed he should be called to suffer death for his faithful testimony to the truth; and his great fear was, that he should not meet his fate with the requisite firmness, and so dishonor the cause of his Master. And when dark clouds came over him, and he sought in vain for a sufficient evidence that in the event of his death it would be well with him, he girded up his soul with the reflection, that, as he suffered for the word and way of God, he was engaged not to shrink one hair's breadth from it. ‘I will leap,’ he says, ‘off the ladder blindfold into eternity, sink or swim, come heaven, come hell. Lord Jesus, if thou wilt catch me, do; if not, I will venture in thy name!’

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