John Bunyan

John Bunyan was a sturdy controversialist, and was often very severe on the Quakers. But he learned that through the intercession of that group he obtained his release from prison.

It is a somewhat noteworthy fact, now well authenticated, that Charles II liberated Quakers and Puritans from confinement, through the personal intercession of the Quakers, among whom was Richard Carver, who was the mate of the fishing vessel which conveyed the king to France, after the famous battle of Worcester, 1651. This honest Quaker sailor, after twenty years had rolled away, appealed to the king in person in behalf of those who were in prison.

When the fugitive king had fled for life, this sailor conveyed him on shore. The vessel was bound for Poole, coal-laden, with two passengers, who passed for merchants running away from their creditors. The fugitive king and Lord Wilmot were landed at Fecamp, in Normandy, upon the back of a Quaker, and the vessel recrossed the channel to Poole.

When the honest sailor appeared before his majesty, the king expressed his astonishment that he had not previously sought some reward. The sailor replied that he had merely done his duty, and God had rewarded him with peace of mind.

"And now, sire, I ask nothing for myself, but that your majesty would do the same for my friends that I did for you; set the poor, pious sufferers at liberty, that you may have that peace and satisfaction that always follow good actions."

King Charles thereupon pardoned four hundred and seventy-one Quakers, and many Independents and Baptists - among them John Bunyan. Ever after Bunyan was a friend to the Quakers.

Source: Signs of the Times, Copyright (c) April 11, 1892, Pacific Press. With permission from Dale Galusha

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