Speaking of John Bunyan, John Piper said in his biography on his life: “Of course, he is famous for The Pilgrim’s Progress – next to the Bible, perhaps the world’s best-selling book . . . But most people don’t know that Bunyan was a prolific writer before and after The Pilgrim’s Progress… He was a writer from beginning to end… And Bunyan’s suffering left its mark on all his written work. George Whitefield said of The Pilgrim’s Progress, ‘It smells of the prison. It was written when the author was confined in Bedford jail. And ministers never write or preach so well as when under the cross: the Spirit of Christ and of Glory then rests upon them.’
The fragrance of affliction was on most of what he wrote. In fact, I suspect that one of the reasons the Puritans are still being read today with so much profit is that their entire experience, unlike ours, was one of persecution and suffering. To our chipper age (at least in the prosperous West) this may seem sombre at times, but the day you hear that you have cancer or that your child is blind or that a mob is coming, you turn away from the chipper books to the weighty ones that were written on the precipice of eternity where the fragrance of heaven and the stench of hell are both in the air. ” (Italics added) Today we will conclude our series on ‘Sound but Unsavoury Doctrines’ and the topic is ‘Eternity’. Popular? Perhaps not. But very profitable!