Friday 9 October 1668

[In this part of the “Diary” no entry occurs for thirteen days, though there are several pages left blank. During the interval Pepys went into the country, as he subsequently mentions his having been at Saxham, in Suffolk, during the king’s visit to Lord Crofts, which took place at this time (see October 23rd, host). He might also probably have gone to Impington to fetch his wife. The pages left blank were never filled up. — B.]

[Either this day or the previous one, Pepys visited his wife, Mercer, Deb. and Will Hewer, who had all been staying with his cousin Roger Pepys in Impington. — P.G.]

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Terry Foreman  •  Link

9 Oct. 1668 John Bunyan -- though a prisoner now in Bedford's County gaol -- is recorded as present in church for the first time since Oct. 1661.

"Bunyan, in Dr. Brown's words, "had an amount of liberty which in the case of a prisoner nowadays would be simply impossible." But the mistake has been made of extending to the whole period an indulgence which belonged only to a part, and that a very limited part of it. When we are told that Bunyan was treated as a prisoner at large, and like one "on parole," free to come and go as he pleased, even as far as London, we must remember that Bunyan's own words expressly restrict this indulgence to the six months between the Autumn Assizes of 1661 and the Spring Assizes of 1662. "Between these two assizes," he says, "I had by my jailer some liberty granted me more than at the first." This liberty was certainly of the largest kind consistent with his character of a prisoner. The church books show that he was occasionally present at their meetings, and was employed on the business of the congregation. Nay, even his preaching, which was the cause of his imprisonment, was not forbidden. "I followed," he says, writing of this period, "my wonted course of preaching, taking all occasions that were put into my hand to visit the people of God." But this indulgence was very brief and was brought sharply to an end. It was plainly irregular, and depended on the connivance of his jailer. We cannot be surprised that when it came to the magistrates' ears - "my enemies," Bunyan rather unworthily calls them - they were seriously displeased. Confounding Bunyan with the Fifth Monarchy men and other turbulent sectaries, they imagined that his visits to London had a political object, "to plot, and raise division, and make insurrections," which, he honestly adds, "God knows was a slander." The jailer was all but "cast out of his place," and threatened with an indictment for breach of trust, while his own liberty was so seriously "straitened" that he was prohibited even "to look out at the door." The last time Bunyan's name appears as present at a church meeting is October 28, 1661, nor do we see it again till October 9, 1668, only four years before his twelve years term of imprisonment expired. "

*The Life of John Bunyan* by Edmund Venables, Chapter 6…

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"*The Pilgrim's Progress from This World to That Which Is to Come* is a Christian allegory written by John Bunyan and published in February, 1678. It is regarded as one of the most significant works of religious English literature, has been translated into more than 200 languages, and has never been out of print. Bunyan began his work while in the Bedfordshire county gaol for violations of the Conventicle Act, which prohibited the holding of religious services outside the auspices of the established Church of England. Early Bunyan scholars like John Brown believed The Pilgrim's Progress was begun in Bunyan's second shorter imprisonment for six months in 1675, but more recent scholars like Roger Sharrock believe that it was begun during Bunyan's initial, more lengthy imprisonment from 1660-1672 right after he had written his spiritual autobiography, *Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners.*"…

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