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against his neighbour, and slayeth him, even so is
this matter ; he found her in the field, and the
betrothed damsel cried, and there was none to
save her." (Deut. xxii. 25 — 27.)

Thou art this damsel ; The man that forced
thee with these blasphemous thoughts is the devil ;
and he lighteth upon thee in a fit place, even in
the fields as thou art wandering after Jesus
Christ ; but thou criest out, and by thy cry did
show that thou abhorrest such wicked lewdness.
Well, the Judge of all the earth will do right ; he
will not lay the sin at thy door, but at his that
offered the violence. And for thy comfort take
this into consideration, that he came to heal them
that were oppressed with the devil. (Acts x. 38.)

Obj. 4. But, saith another, I am so heartless, so
slow, and, as I think, so indifferent in my coming,
that, to speak truth, I know not whether my kind
of coming ought to be called a coming to Christ.

Ans. You know that I told you at first, that
coming to Christ is a moving of the heart and
affections towards him.

But, saith the soul, my dulness and indifferency
in all holy duties demonstrate my heartlessness in
coming ; and to come, and not with the heart,
signifies nothing at all.

Ans. 1. The moving of the heart after Christ is
not to be discerned, at all times, by thy sensible
affectionate performance of duties, but rather by
those secret groanings and complaints which thy
soul makes to God against that sloth that attends
thee in duties.

2. But grant it be even as thou sayest it is, that
thou comest so slowly, &c, yet since Christ bids
them come that come not at all, surely they may
be accepted that come, though attended with
those infirmities which thou at present groanest
under. He saith, "And him that cometh ; " he
saith not, If they come sensible ; so fast ; but,
" And him that cometh to me, I will in no wise
cast out." He saith also in the 9th of Proverbs,
" As for him that wanteth understanding," that is,
an heart, for oftentimes the understanding is taken
for the heart : " Come, eat of my bread, and drink
of the wine that I have mingled."

3. Thou mayest be vehement in thy Spirit in
coming to Jesus Christ, and yet be plagued with
sensible sloth ; so was the church, when she cried,
" Draw me, we will run after thee ; " and Paul when
he said, " When I would do good, evil is present



with me." (Sol. Song xiv. Rom. vii. Gab v.
19.) The works, smugglings, and oppositions of
the flesh are more manifest than are the works of
the Spirit in our hearts, and so are sooner felt than
they. What then? Let us not be discouraged at
the sight and feeling of our own infirmities, but
run the faster to Jesus Christ for salvation.

4. Get thy heart warmed with the sweet pro-
mise of Christ's acceptance of the coming sinner,
and that will make thee make more haste unto him.
Discouraging thoughts, they are like unto cold
weather, they benumb the senses, and make us
go ungainly about our business ; but the sweet
and warm gleads of promise are like the comfort-
able beams of the sun, which enliven and re-
fresh. You see how little the bee and the fly
do play in the air in winter ; why, the cold hinders
them from doing it ; but when the wind and sun
are warm, who so busy as they ?

5. But again; he that comes to Christ flies for
his life. Now there is no man that flies for his
life that thinks he speeds fast enough on his
journey : no, could he, he would willingly take a
mile at a step. Oh, my sloth and heartlessness !
sayest thou. " Oh, that I had wings like a dove,
for then would I flee away, and be at rest ! I
would hasten my escape from the windy storm and
tempest." (Ps. lv. 6, 8.)

Poor coming soul, thou art like the man that
would ride full gallop, whose horse will hardly
trot ! Now, the desire of his mind is not to be
judged of by the slow pace of the dull jade he
rides on, but by the hitching, and kicking and
spurring, as he sits on his back. Thy flesh is like
this dull jade ; it will not gallop after Christ ; it
will be backward, though thy soul and heaven lie
at stake. But be of good comfort ; Christ judgeth
not according to the fierceness of outward motion,
(Mark x. 17,) but according to the sincerity of
the heart and inward parts. (John i. 47. Ps. li.
6. Matt. xxvi. 41.)

6. Ziba, in appearance, came to David much
faster than did Mephibosheth ; but yet his heart

.was not so upright in him to David as was his.
It is true, Mephibosheth had a check from David;
for said he, " Why wentest not thou with me,
Mephibosheth?" But when David came to re-
member that Mephibosheth was lame — (for that
was his plea, " Thy servant is lame," 2 Sam. xix.)
— he was content, and concluded he would have
come after him faster than he did; and Mephi-
bosheth appealed to David, (who was in those days
as an angel of God to know all things that are
done in the earth,) if he did not believe that the
reason of his backwardness lay in his lameness,
and not in his mind. Why, poor coming sinner,
thou canst not come to Christ with that outward
swiftness of career as many others do ; but doth
the reason of thy backwardness lie in thy mind
and will, or in the sluggishness of the flesh ? Canst
thou say sincerely, " The spirit truly is willing,
but the flesh is weak?" (Matt. xxvi. 41.) Yea,



COME AND WELCOME TO JESUS CHRIST.



200

canst thou appeal to the Lord Jesus, who knoweth what did the Lord Jesus answer them?

perfectly the very inmost thought of thy heart,

that this is true ? Then take this for thy comfort;

he hath said, " I will assemble her that halteth ; I

will make her that halteth a remnant, and I will

eave her that halteth." (Mic. iv. 6. Zeph. iii. 19.)

What canst thou have more from the sweet lips of

the Son of God ? But,

7. I read of some that are to follow Christ in
chains; I say, to come after him in chains: " Thus
saith the Lord, The labour of Egypt, and the
merchandize of Ethiopia and the Sabeans, men of
stature, shall come over unto thee, and they shall
be thine. They shall come after thee : in chains
shall they come over, and they shall fall down
unto thee. They shall make supplication unto
thee, saying, Surely there is none else to save."
(Isa. xlv. 14.) Surely they that come after Christ
in chains come to him in great difficulty, because
their steps by the chains are straitened.

And what chains so heavy as those that dis-
courage thee ? Thy chain, which is made up of
guilt and filth, is heavy; it is a wretched bond
about thy neck, by which thy strength doth fail.
(Lam. i. 14; iii. 18.) But come, though thou
comest in chains ; it is glory to Christ that a sinner
comes after him in chains. The chinking of thy
chains, though troublesome to thee, is not, nor
can be obstruction to thy salvation ; it is Christ's
work and glory to save thee from thy chains, to
enlarge thy steps, and set thee at liberty. The
blind man, though called, surely could not come
apace to Jesus Christ, but Christ could stand
still and stay for him. True, "He rideth upon
the wings of the wind ;" but yet he is long-suffer-
ing, and his long-suffering is salvation to him that
cometh to him. (Mark x. 49. 2 Pet. iii. 9.)

8. Hadst thou seen those that came to the Lord
Jesus in the days of his flesh, how slowly, how
hobblingly they came to him, by reason of their
infirmities ; and also how friendly, and kindly, and
graciously he received them, and gave them the
desire of their hearts, thou wouldst not, as thou
dost, make such objections against thyself in thy
coming to Jesus Christ.

Obj. 5. But, says another, I fear I come too
late ; I doubt I have stayed too long ; I am afraid
the door is shut.

Ans. Thou canst never come too late to Jesus
Christ, if thou dost come. This is manifest by
two instances.

1. By the man that came to him at the eleventh
hour. This man was idle all the day long ; he
had a whole gospel-day to come in, and he played
it all away save only the last hour thereof. But
at last, at the eleventh hour, he came, and goes
into the vineyard to work with the rest of the
labourers, that had borne the burden and heat of
the day. Well, but how was he received by the
lord of the vineyard? Why, when pay-day came, he
had even as much as the rest; yea, had his money
first. True, the others murmured at him; but



" Is thine
eye evil because mine is good ? I will give unto
this last even as unto thee." (Matt. xx. 14, 15.)

2. The other instance is, the thief upon the
cross. He came late also, even as at an hour
before his death ; yea, he stayed from Jesus
Christ as long as he had liberty to be a thief, and
longer too ; for could he have deluded the judge,
and by lying words escaped his just condemnation,
for aught I know, he had not come as yet to his
Saviour ; but being convicted, and condemned to
die, yea, fastened to the cross, that he might die
like a rogue, as he was in his life, behold the Lord
Jesus, when this wicked one, even now, desireth
mercy at his hands, tells him, and that without the
least reflection upon him for his former misspent
life, " To-day thou shalt be with me in paradise."
(Luke xxiii. 43.) Let no man turn the grace of
God into wantonness. My design is now to en-
courage the coming soul.

Obj. But is not the door of mercy shut against
some before they die ?

Ans. Yea ; and God forbids that prayers should
be made to him for them. (Jer. vi. 16. Jude 22.)

Quest. Then, why may not I doubt that I may
be one of these ?

Ans. By no means, if thou art coming to Jesus
Christ; because, when God shuts the door upon
men, he gives them no heart to come to Jesus
Christ. " None come, but those to whom it is
given of the Father." But thou comest, therefore
it is given to thee of the Father. Be sure, there-
fore, if the Father hath given thee a heart to
come to Jesus Christ, the gate of mercy yet stands
open to thee ; for it stands not with the wisdom of
God to give strength to come to the birth, and yet
to shut up the womb, (Isa. lxvi. 9 ;) to give grace
to come to Jesus Christ, and yet shut up -the door
of his mercy upon thee. " Incline thine ear,"
saith he, " and come unto me. Hear, and your
souls shall live ; and I will make an everlasting
covenant with you, even the sure mercies oi
David." (Isa. Iv. 3.)

Obj. But it is said, that some knocked when
the door was shut.

Ans. Yes ; but the texts in which tnese knockers
are mentioned are to be referred unto the day of
judgment, and not to the coming of the sinner to
Christ in this life. (See the texts, Matt. xxv. 11.
Luke xiii. 24, 25.) These, therefore, concern thee
nothing at all ; thou art coming to Jesus Christ,
thou art coming now ! " Now is the accepted
time ; behold, now 7 is the day of salvation." (2 Cor.
vi. 2.) Now God is upon the mercy-seat ; now
Christ Jesus sits by, continually pleading tlfe vic-
tory of his blood for sinners; and now, even as
long as this world lasts, this word of the text shall
still be free and fully fulfilled : " And him that
cometh to me, I will in no wise cast out."

Sinner, the greater sinner thou art, the greater
need of mercy thou hast, and the more will Christ
be glorified thereby. Come, then, come and try.



COME AND WELCOME TO JESUS CHRIST.



201



Come, taste, and see how good the Lord is to an
undeserving sinner !

Obj. 6. Bnt, says another, I am fallen since
I began to come to Christ, therefore I fear I did
not come aright, and so, consequently, that Christ
will not receive me.

Ans. Falls are dangerous, for they dishonour
Christ, wound the conscience, and cause the ene-
mies of God to speak reproachfully. But it is no
good argument, I am fallen, therefore I was not
coming aright to Jesus Christ. If David, and
Solomon, and Peter, had thus objected against
themselves, they had added to their griefs ; and
yet they had at least as much cause as thou.
A man whose steps are ordered by the Lord, and
whose goings the Lord delights in, may yet be
overtaken with a temptation that may cause him
to fall. (Ps. xxxvii. 23, 24.) Did not Aaron fall,
yea, and Moses himself? What shall we say ol
Hezekiah and Jehosaphat? There are therefore
falls and falls ; falls pardonable, and falls unpar-
donable. Falls unpardonable are falls "against light,
from the faith, to the despising of, and trampling
upon Jesus Christ and his blessed undertakings.
(Heb. vi. 2—5 ; x. 28, 29.) Now, as for such,
there remains no more sacrifice for sin. Indeed,
they have no heart, no mind, no desire to come to
Jesus Christ for life, therefore they must perish.
Nay, says the Holy Ghost, " It is impossible that
they should be renewed again unto repentance."
Therefore these God hath no compassion for, nei-
ther ought we • but for other falls, though they be
dreadful, and God will chastise his people for them,
they do not prove thee a graceless man, one not
come to Jesus Christ for life.

It is said of the child in the gospel, that " while
he was yet a-coming, the devil threw him down,
and tore him." (Luke ix. 42.) Dejected sinner, it
is no wonder that thou hast caught a fall in com-
ing to Jesus Christ. Is it not rather to be won-
dered at that thou hast not caught before this a
thousand times a thousand falls ? considering,
1. What fools we are by nature. 2. What wicked-
nesses are in us. 3. What mighty powers the fallen
angels, our implacable enemies, are. 4. Considering
also how often the coming man is benighted in his
journey, and also what stumbling-blocks do lie in his
way. 5. Also his familiars, that were so before,
now watch for his halting, and seek by what means
they may to cause him to fall by the hand of their
strong ones.

What then ? Must we, because of these tempta-
tions, incline to fall ? No. Must we not fear
falls ? Yes. " Let him that thinketh he standeth,
take heed lest he fall." (1 Cor. x. 12.) Yet let
him not utterly be cast down ; " The Lord up-
holdeth all that fall, and raiseth up those that are
bowed down." Make not light of falls ! Yet,
hast thou fallen? " Ye have," said Samuel, "done
all this wickedness ; yet turn not aside from follow-
ing the Lord, but serve him with a perfect heart,
and turn not aside, for the Lord will not forsake



his people ;" and he counted the conim , sinner one
of them, "because it hath pleased tno Lord to
make you his people." (1 Sam. xii. 20 — 22.)

II. " Shall come to me." Now we come to
show what force there is in this promise to make
them come to him. "All that the Father giveth
me, shall come to me." I will speak to this pro-
mise. First. In general. Second. In particular.

First. In general. This word " shall " is con-
fined to these " all " that are given to Christ :
"All that the Father giveth me, shall come to me."
Hence I conclude,

1. That coming to Jesus Christ aright is an
effect of their being, of God, given to Christ
before. Mark, They shall come. Who? Those
that are given. They come, then, because they
were given : " Thine they were, and thou g'avest
them me." Now, this is indeed a singular com-
fort to them that are coming in truth to Christ,
to think that the reason why they come is, because
they were given of the Father before to him.
Thus, then, may the coming soul reason with him-
self as he comes. Am I coming indeed to Jesus
Christ ? This coming of mine is not to be attri-
buted to me or my goodness, but to the grace and
gift of God to Christ. God gave first my person
to him, and therefore hath now given me a heart
to come.

2. This word, " shall come," maketh thy coming
not only the fruit of the gift of the Father, but
also of the purpose of the Son ; for these words
are a Divine purpose ; they show us the heavenly
determination of the Son. " The Father hath
given them to me, and 'they shall," yea, they shall
" come to me." Christ is as full in his resolution
to save those given to him as is the Father in
giving of them. Christ prizeth the gift of his
Father ; he will lose nothing of it ; he is resolved
to save it every whit by his blood, and to raise it
up again at the last day ; and thus he fulfils his
Father's will, and accomplisheth his own desires.
(John vi. 39.)

3. These words, "shall come," make thy com-
ing to be also the effect of an absolute promise.
Coming sinner, thou art concluded in a promise :
thy coming is the fruit of the faithfulness of an
absolute promise. It was this promise, by the
virtue of which thou at first receivedst strength to
come ; and this is the promise, by the virtue of
which thou shalt be effectually brought to him. It
was said to Abraham, " At this time I will come,
and Sarah shall have a son." This son was Isaac.
Mark ! " Sarah shall have a son ;" there is the
promise. And Sarah had a son ; there was the
fulfilling of the promise ; and therefore was Isaac
called the child of promise. (Gen. xvii. 19 ; xviii.
10. Rom. ix. 9.)

Sarah shall have a son. But how if Sarah be
past age ? Why, still the promise continues to
say, Sarah shall have a son. But how if Sarah be
barren ? Why, still the promise says, Sarah shall
have a son. But Abraham's body is now dead?



202



COME AND WELCOME TO JESUS CHRIST.



Why the promise is still the same, Sarah shall have
a sou. Thus you see what virtue there is iu an
absolute promise ; it carrieth enough in its own
bowels to accomplish the thing promised, whether
there be means or no in us to effect it. Where-
fore this promise in the text, being an absolute
promise, by virtue of it, not by virtue of ourselves,
or by our own inducements, do we come to Jesus
Christ, for so are the words of the text, " All that
the Father giveth me, shall come to me."

Therefore is every sincere comer to Jesus Christ
called also a child of promise. " Now we, brethren,
as Isaac was, are the children of the promise,"
(Gal. iv. 28;) that is, we are the children that
God hath promised to Jesus Christ, and given to
him ; yea, the children that Jesus Christ hath pro-
mised shall come to him. " All that the Father
giveth me shall come."

4. This word, " shall come," engageth Christ
to communicate all manner of grace to those thus
given him, to make them effectually come to him.
" They shall come ;" that is, not if they will, but
if grace, all grace, if power, wisdom, a new heart,
and the Holy Spirit, and all joining together, can
make them come. I say, this word, " shall come,"
being absolute, hath no dependence upon our own
will, or power, or goodness ; but it engageth for
us even God himself, Christ himself, the Spirit
himself. When God had made the absolute pro-
mise to Abraham, that Sarah le should have a
son," Abraham did not at all look at any qualifica-
tions in himself, because the promise looked at
none ; but as God had by the promise absolutely
promised him a son, so he considered now not his
own body now dead, nor yet the barrenness of
Sarah's womb. " He staggered not at the promise
of God through unbelief, but was strong in faith,
giving glory to God, being fully persuaded that
what he had promised he was able to perform."
(Rom. iv. 20, 21.) He had promised, and had
promised absolutely, " Sarah shall have a son;"
therefore Abraham looks that he, to wit, God,
must fulfil the condition of it. Neither is this
expectation of Abraham disapproved by the Holy
Ghost, but accounted good and laudable ; it being
that by which he gives glory to God; The Father
also hath given to Christ a certain number of souls
for him to save ; and he himself hath said, " They
shall come to him." Let the church of God then
live in a joyful expectation of the utmost accom-
plishment of this promise ; for assuredly it shall be
fulfilled, and not one thousandth part of a tittle
thereof shall fail : " They shall come to me."

Second. And now, before I go any further, I
will more particularly inquire into the nature of
an absolute promise.

1. We call that an absolute promise that is made
without any condition; or more fully thus: That
is an absolute promise of God, or of Christ, which
maketh over to this or that man any saving spi-
ritual blessing, without a condition to be done on
our part for the obtaining thereof. And this we



have in hand is such an one. Let the best Master
of Arts on earth show me, if he can, any condition
in this text depending upon any qualification in
us, which is not by the same promise concluded,
shall be by the Lord Jesus effected in us.

2. An absolute promise therefore is, as we say,
without if or and ; that is, it requireth nothing of
us, that itself might be accomplished. It saith
not, They shall, if they will ; but, They shall : not,
They shall, if they use the means; but, They
shall. You may say, that a will, and the use of
the means is supposed, though not expressed.
But I answer, No, by no means ; that is, as a con-
dition of this promise. If they be at all included
in the promise, they are included there as the
fruit of the absolute promise, not as if it expected
the qualification to arise from us. " Thy people
shall be willing in the day of thy power." (Ps. ex.
3.) That is another absolute promise. But doth
that promise suppose a willingness in us, as a con-
dition of God's making us willing ? They shall
be willing, if they are willing ; or, they shall be
willing, if they will be willing. This is ridiculous ;
there is nothing of this supposed. The promise is
absolute as to us ; all that it engageth for its own
accomplishment is, the mighty power of Christ,
and his faithfulness to accomplish.

3. The difference therefore betwixt the absolute
and conditional promise is this :

(1.) They differ in their terms. The absolute
promises say, I will, and you shall : the other, I
will, if you will ; or, Do this, and thou shalt live.
(Jer. xxxi. 31—33. Ezek. xxxvi. 24—31. Heb.
viii. 7—13. Jer. iv. 1. Ezek. xviii. 30—32.
Matt. xix. 21.) (2.) They differ in their way of
communicating of good things to men ; the abso-
lute ones communicate things freely, only of grace ;
the other, if there be that qualification in' us that
the promise calls for, not else. (3.) The absolute
promises therefore engage God, the other engage
us; I mean God only, us' only. (4.) Absolute
promises must be fulfilled; conditional may, or
may not be fulfilled. The absolute ones must be
fulfilled, because of the faithfulness of God ; the
other may not, because of the unfaithfulness of
men. (5.) Absolute promises have therefore a
sufficiency in themselves to bring about Jbeir own
fulfilling ; the conditional have not so. The abso-
lute promise is therefore a big-bellied promise, be-
cause it hath in itself a fulness of all desired things
for us ; and will, when the time of that promise is
come, yield to us mortals that which will verily save
us ; yea, and make us capable of answering of
the demands of the promise that is conditional.

4. Wherefore, though there be a real, yea, an 1 eter-
nal difference in these things, with others, betwixt
the conditional and the absolute promise ; yet
again, in other respects, there is a blessed harmony
betwixt them ; as may be seen in these particulars :
(1.) The conditional promise calls for repentance ;
the absolute promise gives it. (Acts v. 31.) (2.)
The conditional promise calls for faith; the abso-



COME AND WELCOME TO JESUS CHRIST.



203



lute promise gives it. (Zeph. iii. 12. Rom. xv.
12.) (3.) The conditional promise calls for a new
heart ; the absolute promise gives it. (Ezek. xxxvi.
27.) (1.) The conditional promise callethfor holy
obedience; the absolute promise giveth it, or
causeth it. (Ezek. xxxvi. 27.)

5. And as they harmoniously agree in this, so
again the conditional promise, blesseth the man
who by the absolute promise is endued with its
fruit. As, for instance : (1.) The absolute promise
maketh men upright; and then the conditional
follows, saying, " Blessed are the undefiled in the
way, who walk in the way of the Lord." (Ps. cxix.
1.) 2. The absolute promise giveth to this man
the fear of the Lord; and then the conditional
followeth, saying, " Blessed is every one that
feareth the Lord." (Ps. cxxviii. 1.) (3.) The
absolute promise giveth faith, and then this con-
ditional follows, saying, " Blessed is he that be-
lieveth." (Zeph. iii. 12. Luke i. 45.) (L) The
absolute promise brings free forgiveness of sins ;
and then says the conditional, " Ble'ssed are they
whose transgressions are forgiven, and whose sin
is covered." (Rom. iv. 7.) (5.) The absolute
promise says, that God's elect should hold out to
the end ; then the conditional follows with his
blessings, " He that shall endure to the end, the
same shall be saved." (1 Pet. i. 4 — 6. Matt,
xxiv. 13.)

Thus do the promises gloriously serve one an-



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