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Bunyan's Escapes








Bunyan had some providential escapes during his early life. Once, he
fell into a creek of the sea, once out of a boat into the river Ouse,
near Bedford, and each time he was narrowly saved from drowning. One
day, an adder crossed his path. He stunned it with a stick, then forced
open its mouth with a stick and plucked out the tongue, which he supposed
to be the sting, with his fingers; "by which act," he says, "had not God
been merciful unto me, I might, by my desperateness, have brought myself
to an end." If this, indeed, were an adder, and not a harmless snake,
his escape from the fangs was more remarkable than he himself was aware
of. A circumstance, which was likely to impress him more deeply, occurred
in the eighteenth year of his age, when, being a soldier in the
Parliament's army, he was drawn out to go to the siege of Leicester,
in 1645. One of the same company wished to go in his stead; Bunyan
consented to exchange with him, and this volunteer substitute, standing
sentinel one day at the siege, was shot through the head with a
musket-ball. "This risk," Sir Walter Scott observes, "was one somewhat
resembling the escape of Sir Roger de Coverley, in an action at Worcester,
who was saved from the slaughter of that action, by having been absent
from the field."--Southey.

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