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58

Grace Abounding

With Other Spiritual Autobiographies

Author(s)
Published
11/09/2008

Publisher writes

'I evidently saw that unless the great God of his infinite grace and bounty, had voluntarily chosen me to be a vessel of mercy, though I should desire, and long, and labour until my heart did break, no good could come of it ...How can you tell you are Elected?' (GA, 47)

In seventeenth-century England, the Calvinist doctrine of predestination, with its belief in the predetermined salvation of the few and damnation of the many, led many Christians to an anguished search for evidence of God's favour. John Bunyan's Grace Abounding records this spiritual crisis and its gruelling fluctuations between hope and despair in all its psychological intensity. It is a classic of spiritual autobiography - a genre which flourished in seventeenth-century England, as anxiety over one's spiritual state encouraged rigorous self-scrutiny and the sharing of spiritual experiences.

This edition sets Grace Abounding alongside four of the most interesting and varied contemporary spiritual autobiographies, making its cultural milieu more meaningful to the modern reader.

Author Information

John Bunyan, (edited by John Stachniewski), (edited by Anita Pacheco)

Anita Pacheco is Visiting Lecturer at the University College of Ripon and York St John, York.

Judges' and contributors' comments

John Arnold: I have chosen Grace Abounding by John Bunyan in place of the more popular Pilgrim’s Progress. A comparison of the two shows the superiority of autobiography (see Augustine’s Confessions) over allegory in spiritual writing.

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