At the end of the valley, as John Bunyan
mentions, is a cavern, where, in his days, dwelt two cruel giants, Pope and Pagan, who had strown the ground about their residence with the bones of slaughtered pilgrims.
But yet," says Bunyan himself, "notwithstanding the meanness and inconsiderableness of my parents, it pleased God to put it into their hearts to put me to school, to learn me both to read and write.
It was into this stern world that little John Bunyan was born, and just as a stern religious struggle was going on in England so a stern religious struggle went on within his little heart.
And in spite of his awful thoughts and terrifying dreams Bunyan still went on being a naughty boy; he still told lies and swore.
But all England was being drawn into war, and so Bunyan, when about seventeen, became a soldier.
It seems much more likely that Bunyan, so Puritan in all his ways of thought, should fight for the Puritan side.
So whether Bunyan served in the Royal army, where he might have heard oaths, or in the Parliamentarian, where he might have heard godly songs and prayers, he still went on his way as before.
Some time after Bunyan left the army, and while he was still very young, he married.
These two books Bunyan read with his wife, picking up again the art of reading, which he had been taught at school, and which he had since almost forgotten.
As we read we cannot help but see that Bunyan was never a very wicked man, but merely a man with a very tender conscience.
In the same year as Bunyan lost his friend his wife too died, and he was left alone with four children, two of them little girls, one of whom was blind.
It was while Cromwell ruled that Bunyan began this ministry.
Seeing there was no help for it, Bunyan set himself bravely to endure his imprisonment.