Written after the Black Plague of 1665 and the Great Fire of London of 1666, James Janeway appeals to his readers to recognize in Jesus Christ the best friend in the worst times. Be prepared for a spiritual feast fit for the children of the King.
James Janeway (1636-1674), the son of a minister, was educated at Christ's College, Oxford, and spent time as a private tutor in a home. He is listed as one of the ejected ministers of 1662. In 1672 his admirers built a large meeting house for him near London, where it is said that "he had a very numerous auditory, and a great reformation was wrought amongst many." But Janeway's popularity so enraged the Church of England that several times they threatened to shoot him, which was actually attempted on at least two occasions. Soldiers destroyed the building in which he preached, but his congregation simply built another, larger one to accommodate all those who came to hear him preach. As was true of many Puritan ministers, Janeway was afflicted with melancholy (depression), contracted tuberculosis, and died in his 38th year. The book for which he is most known is A Token for Children, in which he collected personal accounts of the conversions of a number of children in his parish, and published it. It became an effective evangelistic tool, and was the most widely read book in nurseries in England next to the Bible and Pilgrim's Progress by John Bunyan. The present book was last reprinted in 1847 as part of a series entitled 'Works of the English Puritan Divines.'