The Scriptorium in Orlando features a replica of a jail cell for a towering figure in church history, John Bunyan. The cell contains a primitive bed and a number of artifacts and books related to John Bunyan. There is an early edition of The Pilgrim’s Progress with an engraving. The early editions of The Pilgrim’s Progress were so often read, they were devoured by people as they passed from hand to hand. And so copies are rare. Most were literally read out of existence as people gobbled up this beautiful text that so vividly portrays the pilgrimage of the Christian life.
Here you can see a wood fragment from the Elstow house. There is also a key to the Bedford prison—an actual key from the Bedford prison. We remember the scene in Pilgrim’s Progress where Christian and Hopeful are locked deep down in a dungeon in the castle of Giant Despair. They are absolutely despondent. Then all of a sudden Christian remembers that he has a key. He reaches into the folds of his cloak, and he pulls out the key of promise. With a shaking hand he tries it in the lock, and it opens the door. Then they come to another lock, and it opens that lock, and another gate and it opens that lock, and they escape. What a beautiful portrayal of the promise that is God’s Word. That’s quite a key. It may be Bunyan had the particular key that’s now in the Scriptorium in mind when he wrote his text.
Bunyan wrote other books, beyond The Pilgrim’s Progress. One is The Holy War. Bunyan scholars say it’s a better book than The Pilgrim’s Progress. The Van Kampen collection contains a copy of The Holy War from 1682.
Bunyan knew a thing or two about suffering. He lost his first wife. His oldest daughter was born blind, he himself suffered in prison, and he saw the deaths of friends. So in 1684 he published Advice to Sufferers. A copy of that book is in the Bunyan room as well. All of these are a testament to the author John Bunyan and his wonderful classic, The Pilgrim’s Progress.
One last book on display at the Scriptorium related to the Reformation is a 1596 edition of Foxe’s Acts and Monuments. This book chronicles martyrdoms, most of them happening under Bloody Mary. But Foxe begins his story back in the days of the apostles as the New Testament was coming to a close. Foxe records the many centuries of martyrdoms, especially those martyrdoms related to the British Reformation. And on display next to it is a Bible that is a stirring testament to one of those martyrdoms. It’s in the great English tradition of Bible translations and that line from Wycliffe all the way to King James. It’s a Matthew’s Bible that dates to 1537. It is opened to pages in John because on those pages are actual bloodstains of a martyr of the British Reformation.