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The Heavenly Foot-Man:

or a Description of the Man that gets to Heaven. Together with the Way he Runs in, the Marks he goes by: Also some Directions how to Run so as to Obtain. The Fourth Edition. To which is added, The Life and Death of the said John Bunyan, with a Catalogue of all Mr. Bunyan's Writings.

London: Printed for John Marshall, 1708 Stock Code: 138643
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Rare early Bunyan

Fourth edition. In 1668 Bunyan "begun to prepare 'The Heavenly Foot-Man', a sermon on the Christian life, for publication. Internal evidence suggests it may have been preached, or at least prepared for the pulpit, late in 1659 or in 1660. Directed to the spiritually indolent, the sermon urges people to repent before the day of grace has passed, a concern that played a prominent role in Bunyan's conversion experience. Using the metaphor of a race to portray the Christian life, Bunyan admonished his readers to begin promptly, cast off encumbrances, shun distractions and bypaths, and fight off fatigue. The message clearly implies an ability to choose to run this race, thus reflecting Bunyan's recurring tendency to suppress predestinarian doctrine in favour of pastoral evangelism. As he worked on his text, he became intrigued with the idea of writing a full-scale allegory... Thus was born the first part of The Pilgrim's Progress" (ODNB). Focusing instead on the Pilgrim's Progress, The Heavenly Foot-Man was left aside, unpublished until 1698, following the author's death.

Small and read to death, as with the Pilgrim's Progress, all the early editions of the title are rare: of the first edition (1698) ESTC locates seven copies; of the second edition (1700) six copies, of the third edition (1702) two copies. Of this fourth edition, there are two variants, distinguished by whether page 1 or 11 is signed C2 (here the latter) without any significance of issue. Between both variants, four copies only are located by ESTC - in the Pierpont Morgan library, the Bodleian, and two in the British Library.

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Duodecimo (142 x 79 mm). Contemporary sheep, rebacked in calf, spine lettered in gilt, covers with original ruling in blind. Housed in a brown cloth flat-back box by the Chelsea Bindery.


With an initial advertisement leaf, on the verso of which is a portrait of John Bunyan, and bookseller's catalogue on terminal page.


Early indecipherable scrawl to inner front board, above 20th-century purple ink signature of B. Paget of Bristol, initial advertisement leaf with ownership inscription "William Lane's Book 1822", early jottings throughout (one with the name of Joseph), rear turn-ins with 19th-century (?) ownership signatures of Thomas and John Sanders. Rubbed with tips worn, contents somewhat soiled and browned, occasional creasing and peripheral closed tears, chip to pp. 31/32 not affecting text, pp. 101/102 with chip with minor loss to lettering repaired with tape. Overall a perfectly creditable copy of a rare book.


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