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“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,” and “a fountain of life” - the foundation on which all wisdom rests, as well as the source from whence it emanates. Upon a principle so vastly important, all the subtle malignity of Satan has been directed, if possible to mislead the very elect; while the ungodly and impenitent fall under his devices. To the mind enlightened by Divine truth, the difference between a filial fear of offending God and the dread of punishment is very plain. Still, by the devil’s sophistry, some of the most pious Christians have been puzzled and bewildered. Bunyan was not ignorant of Satan’s devices, and he has roused the energies of his powerful mind, guided by Divine truth, to render this important doctrine so clear and easy to be understood, that the believer may not err.
This rare volume, first published in 1679, soon became so scarce that Chandler, Wilson, Whitefield, and others, omitted it from their editions of Bunyan’s works. At length it appeared in the more complete collection by Ryland and Mason, about 1780. Since then, it has been reprinted, somewhat modernized, by the Tract Society, from an original copy, discovered by that ardent lover of Bunyan, the Rev. Joseph Belcher. Of this edition, four thousand copies have been printed.