The tradition is that, during those evil days, Bunyan was forced to disguise himself as a wagoner, and that he preached to his congregation at Bedford in a smock-frock, with a cart-whip in his hand.
Two eminent Baptists, with whom Bunyan had been engaged in controversy, were in great peril and distress.
The task was not easy; for it was necessary to make two sacraments the most prominent objects in the allegory, and of all Christian theologians, avowed Quakers excepted, Bunyan was the one in whose system the sacraments held the least prominent place.
It was long an ordinary practice with pious writers to cite Bunyan as an instance of the supernatural power of divine grace to rescue the human soul from the lowest depths of wickedness.
In 1646 Bunyan returned home and married about two years later.
His style in its simplicity, facility and clearness owed something to De Foe, something to Cotton Mather, something to Plutarch, more to Bunyan and to his early attempts to reproduce the manner of the third volume of the Spectator; and not the least to his own careful study of word usage.
But the peculiar glory of Bunyan is that those who most hated his doctrines have tried to borrow the help of his genius.
Neither the books which Bunyan read, nor the advisers whom he consulted, were likely to do much good in a case like his.
He would have thought it a sin to borrow any time from the serious business of his life, from his expositions, ' His formal pardon is dated the 13th of September 1672; but five months earlier he had received a royal licence to preach, and acted for the next three years as pastor of the nonconformist body to which he belonged, in a barn on the site of which stands the present Bunyan Meeting.
The misdirected activity of the civil magistrate in the 17th century is illustrated by the familiar literature of Butler, Bunyan and others.