548d John Bunyan 1628-1688
Solomon’s Temple Spiritualiz’d or Gospel-Light fetcht out of the Temple at Jerusalem, To let Us More easily into the Glory of New-Testament-Truths. By John Bunyan
London: for Eliz. Smith, 1691.
$13,000 Octavo A-K12 (C3, C5 incorrectly signed B3, B5 respectively). Second edition
Second edition (the first edition appeared in 1688.)
Of the three 17th century editions of this work, all are extremely rare. A combined search of Wing, ESTC, OCLC and RLIN yields 2 copies of this edition in the U.S.: Yale, UCLA.
This copy has a few ragged pages, but is sturdy and readable. Bound in contemporary tanned sheepskin, the boards ruled in blind. The corners are bumped, the extremities rubbed, but the binding is well preserved overall. The edges of the title page are stained from contact with the leather of the binding. There is minor foxing throughout. The first 3 leaves with a tear in the fore-margin slightly affecting text, ownership inscription torn from top margin of title with partial loss of line-border. One line crossed out in ink on leaf G12r. Aside from these minor defects, a well-preserved copy of an exceedingly rare book.
Bunyan’s task in writing “Solomon’s Temple spiritualiz’d” is to explain the allegorical significance of the Temple and its construction. The Temple itself is a “similitude” for the Kingdom that Christ shall establish on earth and for the “whole Christian dispensation”. It is therefore “an object of our special attention as a light to guide us while searching into gospel truths”. As the editor explains in the preface, “Of all the wonders of the world, the temple of Solomon was beyond comparison the greatest and the most magnificent. It was a type of that temple not made with hands, eternal in the heavens, of that city whose builder and maker is God, and which, at the consummation of all things, shall descend from heaven with gates of pearl and street of pure gold as shining glass, and into which none but the ransomed of the Lord shall enter. Jesus, the Lamb of God, shall be its light and glory and temple; within its walls the Israel of God, with the honour of the Gentiles, shall be brought in a state of infinite purity. No unclean thing will be able to exist in that dazzling and refulgent brightness which will arise from the perfection of holiness in the immediate presence of Jehovah; and of this, as well as of the whole Christian dispensation, the temple of Solomon was a type or figure.”As Bunyan himself puts it, “there lies, as wrapt up in a mantle, much of the glory of our gospel matters in this temple which Solomon builded; therefore I have made, as well as I could, by comparing spiritual things with spiritual, this book upon this subject.” In his letter to the reader, Bunyan emphasizes the importance of searching for the “spiritual meaning” of the “old church-way of worship” (i.e. the ceremonies of the Old Testament), “because they serve to confirm and illustrate matters to our understandings. Yea, they show us the more exactly how the New and Old Testament, as to the spiritualness of the worship, was as one and the same; only the old was clouded with shadows, but ours is with more open face.”However, Bunyan cautions his readers against developing their own interpretations of these symbols, “I give no encouragement to any now, to fetch out of their own fancies, figures or similitudes to worship God by. What God provided to be an help to the weakness of his people of old was one thing, and what they invented without his commandment was another. For though they had his blessing when they worshipped him with such types, shadows, and figures, which he had enjoined on them for that purpose, yet he sorely punished and plagued them when they would add to these inventions of their own.” Nor does Bunyan assert that he is correct in all that he writes. He concludes his letter with this humble disclaimer: “I dare not presume to say that I know I have hit right in every thing; but this I can say, I have endeavoured so to do. True, I have not for these things fished in other men’s waters; my Bible and Concordance are my only library in my writings. Wherefore, courteous reader, if thou findest any thing, either in word or matter, that thou shalt judge doth vary from God’s truth, let it be counted no man’s else but mine.”