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Heaven Upon Earth
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James Janeway (1636-1674) was born in Hertfordshire, the son of a minister, at the end of 1636. He was educated at Christ's College, Oxford, and spent time as a private tutor in a home, as is true of many of the Puritans. 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. On one of these occasions, Janeway was shot at, and the bullet pierced his hat, but did not harm his body. Soldiers destroyed the building in which he preached, but his congregation simply built another, larger one to accomodate 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 New England preacher Cotton Mather regarded that book so highly that he wrote his own version of it and called it A Token for the Children of New England.