John Bunyan (1628–1688), author of Pilgrim’s Progress, was a rebellious youth, particularly fond of “cursing, swearing, lying, and blaspheming the holy name of God.” In 1648, at the age of twenty, he married a God-fearing woman who brought to the marriage two books of Christian theology, which Bunyan read. Convicted of sin, he began attending the parish church, stopped cursing, and observed the Sabbath. As he came into contact with other Christians and heard their joy-filled testimonies of faith in Christ, his conviction intensified. He knew he was outside of Christ, and “cried to Christ to call [him].” In 1851, he was introduced to Pastor John Gifford of Bedford, whom God used to lead Bunyan to repentance and faith. One day, while meditating on the Word he had received, he was converted. Of that day, Bunyan wrote:
One day, as I was passing in the field, this sentence fell upon my soul: Thy righteousness is in heaven, and I thought withal I saw with the eyes of my soul, Jesus Christ, at God’s right hand; there, I say, as my righteousness; so that wherever I was, or whatever I was a-doing, God could not say of me, He wants my righteousness, for that was just before Him. I also saw, moreover, that is was not my good frame of heart that made my righteousness better, nor yet my bad frame that made my righteousness worse; for my righteousness was Jesus Christ Himself, the same yesterday, today, and forever. Now did my chains fall off my legs indeed. I was loosed from my afflictions and irons; my temptations also fled away. Now I went home rejoicing for the grace and love of God. I lived for some time very sweetly at peace with God through Christ. Oh! methought, Christ! Christ! There was nothing but Christ that was before my eyes. I saw now not only looking upon this and the other benefits of Christ apart, as of His blood, burial, and resurrection, but considered Him as a whole Christ! It was glorious to me to see His exaltation, and the worth and prevalency of all His benefits, and that because now I could look from myself to Him, and would reckon that all those graces of God that now were green in me, were yet but like those cracked groats and fourpence-halfpennies that rich men carry in their purses, when their gold is in their trunk at home! In Christ my Lord and Saviour! Now Christ was all.
—Meet the Puritans (Reformation Heritage Books, 2006), 103–104.