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date: 16 January 2021

Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners, or The Brief Relation of the Exceeding Mercy of God in Christ to his Poor Servant John Bunyan 

Source:
The Oxford Companion to English Literature
Author(s):
Dinah BirchDinah Birch

(1666) A Puritan conversion narrative by John *Bunyan, testifying to the focal events in his journey to assurance of salvation. Its pastoral purpose was to comfort his flock at Bedford during his imprisonment. The author bound himself to the Puritan ‘plain style’, for ‘God did not play in convincing of me…I may not play in relating’. It tells of his joining the Bedford church, call to the ministry, and trials, and describes his anguished oscillation between suicidal despair and contrite reassurance, bearing witness to the volatile moods (‘up and down twenty times in an hour’) which typified Puritan experience. External events (military service in the Civil War, marriage, etc.) are subordinate to inner and spiritual events, as Bunyan struggles against the lure of church bells, the doctrines of the ... ...

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