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A History of the Gipsies by Walter Simson

That Bunyan was a Gipsy is beyond a doubt


Bunyan, doubtless, "dwelt on it with a sort of spiritual exultation," that he should have been "called"--not "out of Egypt," but--"out of the tribe," when, possibly, no others of it, to his knowledge, had been so privileged; but it was, certainly, "most unlikely" he would say that "he belonged to that class of vagabonds."

I need hardly say anything further to show that Bunyan was a Gipsy. The only circumstance that is wanting to complete the evidence, would be for him to have added to his account of his descent: "In other words, I am a Gipsy." But I have given reasons for such verbal admission being, in a measure, impossible. I do not ask for an argument in favour of Bunyan not being a Gipsy, but a common Englishman; for an argument of that kind, beyond such remarks as I have commented on, is impracticable; but what I ask for is, an exposition of the animus of the man who does not wish that he should have been a Gipsy; assuming that a man can be met with, who will so far forget what is due to the dignity of human nature, as to commit himself in any such way. That Bunyan was a Gipsy is beyond a doubt. That he is a Gipsy, now, in Abraham's bosom, the Christian may readily believe. To the genius of a Gipsy and the grace of God combined, the world is indebted for the noblest production that ever proceeded from an uninspired man. Impugn it whoso list.

Of the Pilgrim's Progress, Lord Macaulay, in his happy

manner, writes: "For magnificence, for pathos, for vehement exhortation, for subtle disquisition, for every purpose of the poet, the orator, and the divine, this homely dialect--the dialect of plain working men--was perfectly sufficient. There is no book in our literature on which we would so readily stake the fame of the old, unpolluted, English language," as the Pilgrim's Progress; "no book which shows, so well, how rich that language is in its own proper wealth, and how little it has been improved by all that it has borrowed." "Though there were many clever men in England, during the latter half of the seventeenth century, there were only two great creative minds. One of these minds produced the Paradise Lost; the other, the Pilgrim's Progress"--the work of an English tinkering Gipsy.

It is very singular that religious writers should strive to make out that Bunyan was not a Gipsy. If these writers really have the glory of God at heart, they should rather attempt to prove that he was a member of this race, which has been so much despised. For, thereby, the grace of God would surely be the more magnified. Have they never heard that Jesus Christ came into the world to preach the Gospel to the poor, to break the chains of the oppressed, and raise up the bowed-down? Have they never heard that the poor publican who, standing afar off, would not so much as lift up his eyes to heaven, but smote his breast, and exclaimed: "God be merciful to me, a sinner," went down justified rather than him who gave thanks for his not being like other men, or even as that publican? Have they never heard that God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; and things which are despised, yea, and things which are not, to bring to naught things that are: that no flesh should glory in his presence? I shall wait, with considerable curiosity, to see whether the next editor, or biographer, of this illustrious Gipsy will take any notice of the present work; or whether he will dispose of it somewhat in this strain: "One of Bunyan's modern reviewers, by a strange mistake, construes his self-disparaging admissions to mean that he was the offspring of Gipsies!"


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