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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