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Last Updated: Thursday, 2 September, 2004, 08:23 GMT 09:23 UK
Ex-hostage pays tribute to Bunyan
Stained glass window of John Bunyan in jail
In Beirut Terry Waite received a postcard showing the preacher in jail
Beirut hostage Terry Waite has paid tribute to the 17th Century writer and prisoner of conscience John Bunyan at a conference looking at his works.

The preacher and writer was jailed for his beliefs in his home town of Bedford where he completed Pilgrim's Progress.

While being held in Beirut Terry Waite received a postcard of a stained glass window showing the preacher in jail.

He said: "It was a sign of hope and an inspiration. It showed people had not forgotten me."

John Bunyan led a free church during the late 17th Century when the monarchy was restored under Charles II.

Bunyan's influence

Free church movements were made illegal under laws designed to make their followers conform to the Church of England - rebels were called non-conformists.

Terry Waite said that the example shown by John Bunyan as a prisoner helped him when he was held hostage in Beirut and receiving the card told him that people outside were thinking of him.

"This gave me the will to carry on and shows what an influence the preacher has today."

The conference to discuss John Bunyan's work and his influence is being held in his home town of Bedford.

He was held in the county jail twice and during his second sentence he wrote Pilgrim's Progress.

In the last 10 years of his life he wrote 40 more books.

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