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It was composed while Bunyan was serving a twelve-year prison sentence in Bedford gaol for preaching without a license and was first published in The title contains allusions to two Biblical passages: Grace Abounding is a reference to the Epistle to the Romans , which states Where sin abounded, grace did much more abound KJV and Chief of Sinners refers to First Epistle to Timothy , where Paul refers to himself by the same appellation. John Bunyan baptised 30 November - 31 August was an English writer and Puritan preacher best remembered as the author of the Christian allegory The Pilgrim s Progress.
In addition to The Pilgrim s Progress, Bunyan wrote nearly sixty titles, many of them expanded sermons. Bunyan came from the village of Elstow, near Bedford. He had some schooling and at the age of sixteen joined the Parliamentary army during the first stage of the English Civil War.
Review: Grace Abounding
A er three years in the army he returned to Elstow and took up the trade of tinker, which he had learned from his father. He became interested in religion a er his marriage, attending first the parish church and then joining the Bedford Meeting, a nonconformist group in Bedford, and becoming a preacher. A er the restoration of the monarch, when the freedom of nonconformists was curtailed, Bunyan was arrested and spent the next twelve years in jail as he refused to give up preaching.
During this time he wrote a spiritual autobiography, Grace Related Papers.
Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners - Wikipedia
By Drake H Osborn. The Pioneer: John Bunyan. An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.
Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners. Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners, an autobiographical narrative by John Bunyan, written in Bedford Jail and first published in For the benefit of fellow-Christians similarly tempted Bunyan here sets forth with great plainness, vividness, and sincerity the spiritual experiences which preceded and accompanied his conversion. He relates his humble birth and poor education, his early dread of Hell, his subsequent carelessness about religion, and the wickedness no doubt exaggerated by Bunyan of his youthful life.
He was now inclined to be self-satisfied; but through the instruction of some poor women of Bedford he came for the first time to a conviction of sin, the impossibility of salvation through his own righteousness, and the necessity of a new birth. These convictions were strengthened by the influence of John Gifford, a converted royalist officer, now a Baptist minister at Bedford.
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A long period followed in which Bunyan sought for assurance of salvation. Believing firmly that suggestions, both divine and diabolical might enter his mind in the form of recollected texts or wandering thoughts, he records minutely the alternations of hope and despair which exalted and dejected him by turns. Intellectual doubts assailed him.
For about a year he was in morbid terror of committing the unpardonable sin. Later he was assailed by an irrational suggestion to blaspheme Christ by selling him. Convinced that he had committed this sin he was at length rescued from black despair by an intuition of pardon.
Thus oscillating between fear and hope he at length found peace. The book is an absolutely sincere record of a genuine spiritual crisis in a nature of singular strength, emotional force, and religious insight.