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PREF A C E.
R. BUNYAN, in his excellent
Apology prefixed to his Pilgrim, has fully vindicated the Metaphorical Mode of conveying Instruction: his Authorities are indubitablehis Arguments clear and conclusive and the End he proposes, highly valuable and important : that is, that the Instructions of Truth may be received with Pleasure, and retained with an almost Impossibility of Forgetfulness, through the deep Impression which Metaphor makes upon the Memory : he says,
“ Art thou for something rare and profitable ? " Or wouldst thou see a Truth within a Fable ? “ Art thou forgetful? or wouldst thou remember “ From Niw-Year's. Day to the last of December? ". Then read my Fancies, they will stick like Burz.”
This highly valuable and important End, is not likely to be answered in any great Degree, unless the Fable be well understood. Mr. BUNYAN was well aware of this, and being earnestly desirous to be fully understood, thus addresses and counsels his Readers, in his adınirable Conclusion of his Book,
“Now, Reader, I have told my Dream to thee, o See if thou canst interpret it to me,' " Or to thyself, or Neighbour --“ Put by the Curtains, look within my Veil, “ Turn up niy Metaphors, and do not fail : “ There if thou seekelt them, such Things thouilt find. “ As will be helpful to an honest Mind.”
The Allegory often alludes to the Times in which the Author lived, and thofe which preceded it: also to the Maxims, Manners, Prejudices, and
Bigotry of those Times, and the Sufferings of godly consciencious Persons from these Sources. Readers who lived in, or foon after the Author's Day, could much better understand such Parts of his Allegory, than modern Readers can ; unless it be those who have read and studied the History of those Times alluded to: to those who have not had these Advantage , it may be pleasing and profitable to be able to enter into the Author's Meanings.
Many Parts of the Allegory, which have no such Allusion, are, however just, very dark and mysterious'; therefore difficult to understand, except by Perfons who were ufed to the Author's Ministry, or who have studied his other Writings; by which Means, obtaining a Knowledge of his Mode of thinking, when he spoke or wrote without Metaphor, they became bet
ter qualifed than others to enter into his Similitudes.
Let it be further observed, that the System of Christianity alluded to throughout the Allegory, is the Calvinistic, or as it is denominated in the present Day, Evangelic: and the Modes of Religion alluded to, are those of Nonconformity. Persons unacquainted with the above System of Doctrine, or Modes of Practice, must blunder exceedingly in attempting to explain the Author's Meaning.
But the greatest and most important Bar to the Understanding of this Al. legory, is, that the greater Part of it relates to Christian Experience, under different Dispensations of Providence, and in different Situations of Mind, Shewing how the LORD, by his Spirit, instructs, leads, and guides his People; supports and delivers them