John Bunyan.

The works of John Bunyan (Volume 1) online

. (page 60 of 182)
Online LibraryJohn BunyanThe works of John Bunyan (Volume 1) → online text (page 60 of 182)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

to him, as flying to him; a flying to him from
wrath to come. By all which terms is set forth
the sense of the man that comes ; to wit, That he
is affected with the sense of his sin, and the death
due thereto; that he is sensible that the aveno-er

of blood pursues him, and that, therefore, he 19
thus off, if he makes not speed to the Son of God
for life. Mat. iii. 7. Vs. cxim. 9. Flying is the last
work of a man in danger ; all that are in danger
do not fly ; no, not all that see themselves in dan-
ger ; flying is the last work of a man in danger ;
all that hear of danger will not fly. Men will con-
sider if there be no other way of escape before they
fly. Therefore, as I said, flying is the last thing.
When all refuge fails, and a man is made to see
that there is nothing left him but sin, death, and
damnation, unless he flies to Christ for life ; then
he flies, and not till then.

3. That the true coming is from a sense of an
absolute need of Jesus Christ to save, <fcc, is evi-
dent by the outcry that is made by them to come,
even as they are coming to him, ' Lord, save me,'
or I perish ; ' Men and brethren, what shall we
do ? ' ' Sirs, what must I do to be saved ? ' and the
like. Mat. xiv. 30. Ac. ii. 37 ; xri. so. This language doth
sufficiently discover that the truly-coming souls
are souls sensible of their need of salvation by Jesus
Christ; and, moreover, that there is nothing else
that can help them but Christ.

4. It is yet further evident by these few things
that follow : It is said that such are ' pricked in
their heart,' that is, with the sentence of death by
the law ; and the least prick in the heart kills a
man. Ac. u. 37. Such are said, as I said before, to
weep, to tremble, and to be astonished in them-
selves at the evident and unavoidable danger that
attends them, unless they fly to Jesus Christ.

Ac. ix. 16.

5. Coming to Christ is attended with an honest
and sincere forsaking of all for him. ' If any man
come to me, and hate not his father and mother,
and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters,
yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my dis-
ciple. And whosoever doth not bear his cross,
and come after me, cannot be my disciple. ' Lu. xiv.

26, 27.

By these and the like expressions elsewhere,
Christ describeth the true comer, or the man that
indeed is coming to him ; he is one that casteth
all behind his back ; he leaveth all, he forsaketh
all, he hateth all things that would stand in his
way to hinder his coming to Jesus Christ. There
are a great many pretended comers to Jesus Christ
in the world ; and they are much like to the man
you read of in Mat. xxi. so, that said to his father's
bidding, 'I go, Sir, and went not.' I say, there
are a great many such comers to Jesus Christ;
they say, when Christ calls by his gospel, I come,
Sir; but still they abide by their pleasures and
carnal delights. They come not at all, only they
give him a courtly compliment ; but he takes notice
of it, and will not let it pass for any more than a
lie. He said, ' I go, Sir, and went not;' he dis-
sembled and lied. Take heed of this, you that



flatter yourselves with you own deceivings. Words
will not do with Jesus Christ. Coming is coming,
and nothing else will go for coming with him.

[Objections that usually lie in the way of coming to

Before I speak to the other head, I shall answer
some objections that usually lie in the way of those
that in truth are coming to Jesus Christ.

Objection 1. Though I cannot deny but my mind
runs after Christ, and that too as being moved there-
to from a sight and consideration of my lost condition,
for I see without him I perish; yet I fear my ends
are not right in coming to him. Quest. Why, what
is thine end in coming to Christ? Ansio. My end is,
that I might have life, and be saved by Jesus Christ.

This is the objection ; well, let me tell thee, that
to come to Christ for life, and to be saved, although
at present thou hast no other end, is a lawful and
good coming to Jesus Christ. This is evident, be-
cause Christ propoundeth life as the only argument
to prevail with sinners to come to him, and so also
blameth them because they come not to him for
life. ' Aud ye will not come to me, that ye might
have life.' Jn. v. 40. Besides, there are many other
scriptures whereby he allureth sinners to come to
him, in which he propoundeth nothing to them but
their safety. As, ' Whosoever believeth in him
should not perish ; ' he that believeth is ' passed
from death unto life.' ' He that believeth - shall
be saved.' ' He that believeth on him is not con-
demned.' And believing and coming are all one.
So that you see, to come to Christ for life, is a
lawful coming and good. In that he believeth,
that he alone hath made atonement for sin. Ro. ii.

And let me add over and above, that for a man
to come to Christ for life, though he comes to him
for nothing else but life, it is to give much honour
to him.

1. He honoureth the word of Christ, and con-
senteth to the truth of it ; and that in these two
general heads. (1.) He consenteth to the truth of
all those sayings that testify that sin is most
abominable in itself, dishonourable to God, and
damnable to the soul of man ; for thus saith the
man that cometh to Jesus Christ. Je. xliv. 4. Ro. ii. 2.3 ;
vi. 23. 2 Th. ii. 12. (2.) In that he believeth, as the
word hath said, that there is in the world's best
things, righteousness and all, nothing but death aud
damnation ; for so also says the man that comes to

JeSUS Christ for life. Ro. vii. 21, 25 ; viii. 2, 3. 2 Co. iii. G-8.

2. He honoureth Christ's person, in that he
believeth that there is life in him, and that he is
able to save him from death, hell, the devil, and
damnation ; for unless a man believes this, he will
not come to Christ for life. He. vii. 24, 25.

3. He honoureth him, in that he believeth that
he is authorized of the Father to give life to those
that come to him for it. Jn. v. 11, 12; xviii— 3.


4. He honoureth the priesthood of Jesus Christ.
(1.) In that he believeth that Christ hath more
power to save from sin by the sacrifice that he hath
offered for it, than hath all law, devils, death, or
sin to condemn, lie that believes not this, will
not come to Jesus Christ for life. Ac. xiii. 38. He. ii.
14, 15. Re. i. 17, 18. (2.) In that he believeth that
Christ, according to his office, will be most faithful
and merciful in the discharge of his office. This
must be included in the faith of him that comes for
life to Jesus Christ. 1 Jn. ii. 1-3. lie. ii. 17, is.

5. Further, He that cometh to Jesus Christ for
life, taketh part with him against sin, and against
the ragged and imperfect righteousness of the
world ; yea, and against false Christs, and damu-
able errors, that set themselves against the worthi-
ness of his merits and sufficiency. This is evident,
for that such a soul singleth Christ out from them
all, as the only one that can save.

6. Therefore as Noah, at God's command, thou
preparest this ark, for the saving of thyself, by
which also thou condemnest the world, and art
become heir of the righteousness which is by faith.
lie. xi. 7. Wherefore, coming sinner, be content ;
he that cometh to Jesus Christ, believeth too that
he is willing to show mercy to, and have com-
passion upon him, though unworthy, that comes
to him for life. And therefore thy soul lieth not
only under a special invitation to come, but under
a promise too of being accepted and forgiven.

Mat. xi. 28.

All these particular parts and qualities of faith
are in that soul that comes to Jesus Christ for life,
as is evident to any indifferent judgment. For,
will he that believeth not the testimony of Christ
concerning the baseness of sin, and the insuffi-
ciency of the righteousness of the world, come to
Christ for life? No. He that believeth not this
testimony of the word, comes not. He that
believeth that there is life anywhere else, comes
not. He that questions whether the Father hath
given Christ power to forgive, comes not. He that
thinketh that there is more in sin, in the law, in
death, and the devil, to destroy, than there is in
Christ to save, comes not. He also that questions
his faithful management of his priesthood for the
salvation of sinners, comes not.

Thou, then, that art indeed the coming sinner,
believest all this. True, perhaps thou dost not
believe with that full assurance, nor hast thou
leisure to take notice of thy faith as to these dis-
tinct acts of it ; but yet all this faith is in him
coming to Christ for life. And the faith that thus
worketh, is the faith of the best and purest kind ;
because this man comes alone as a sinner, and as
seeing that life is, and is to be had only in J<

Before I conclude my answer to this objection,
take into thy consideration these two things.
J 21



1st. [Consider] that the cities of refuge -were
erected for those that were dead in law, and
that yet would live hy grace ; even for those that
were to fly thither for life from the avenger of
hlood that pursueth after them. And it is worth
your noting, that those that were upon their flight
thither, are in a peculiar manner called the people
of God: ' Cast ye up, cast ye up,' saith God; ' pre-
pare the way ; take up the stumhlinghlock out of
the way of my people. ' is. lvii. 14. This is meant
of preparing the way to the city of refuge, that the
slayers might escape thither ; which flying slayers
are here, by way of specialty, called the people of
God; even those of them that escaped thither for life.

2dly. Consider that of Ahah, when Benhadad
sent to him for life, saying, ' Thus saith thy ser-
vant Benhadad, I pray thee let me live.' Though
Benhadad had sought the crown, kingdom, yea,
and also the life of Ahah, yet how effectually doth
Benhadad prevail with him ! Is Benhadad yet
alive? saith Ahah ; He is my brother ; yea, go ye,
bring him to me. So he made him ride in his
chariot. 1 Ki. xx.

Coming sinner, what thinkest thou? If Jesus
Christ had as little goodness in him as Ahab, he
might grant an humble Benhadad life; thou neither
beggest of him his crown and dignity ; life, eternal
life, will serve thy turn. How much more then
shalt thou have it, since thou hast to deal with
him who is goodness and mercy itself! yea, since
thou art also called upon, yea, greatly encouraged
by a promise of life, to come unto him for life!
Read also these Scriptures, Nu. xxxv. 11, 14, 15. Jos. xx.

1-6. Heb. vi. 1G— 21.

Object. 2. When I say I only seek myself, I mean
I do not find that I do design God's glory in mine
own salvation by Christ, and that makes me fear I
do not come ariglit.

Answ. Where doth Christ Jesus require such a
qualification of those that are coming to him for
life? Come thou for life, and trouble not thy head
with such objections against thyself, and let God
and Christ alone to glorify themselves in the sal-
vation of such a worm as thou art. The Father
saith to the Son, ' Thou art my servant, Israel,
in whom I will be glorified.' God propoundeth
life to sinners, as the argument to prevail with
them to come to him for life; and Christ says
plainly, * I am come that they might have life.'
Jn. x. 10. He hath no need of thy designs, though
thou hast need of his. Eternal life, pardon of
sin, and deliverance from wrath to come, Christ
propounds to thee, and these bo the things that
thou hast need of; besides, God will be gracious
and merciful to worthless, undeserving wretches ;
come then as such an one, and lay no stumbling-
blocks in the way to him, but come to him for life,

and live. Jn. v. Si ; x. 10 ; iii. 3C. Mat. i. 21 ; Pr. viii. 35, 36.

1 Th. i. 10. Jn. xi. 20, iC

When the jailer said, ' Sirs, What must I do
to be saved?' Paul did not so much as once ask
him, What is your end in this question? do you
design the glory of God, in the salvation of your
soul ? He had more wit ; he knew that such
questions as these would have been but fools'
babbles about, instead of a sufficient salve* to so
weighty a question as this. Wherefore, since this
poor wretch lacked salvation by Jesus Christ, I
mean to be saved from hell and death, which he
knew, now, was due to him for the sins that he had
committed, Paul bids him, like a poor condemned
sinner as he was, to proceed still in this his way
of self-seeking, saying, 'Believe on the Lord Jesus
Christ, and thou shalt be saved.' Ac. xvi. 30—32. I
know that afterwards thou wilt desire to glorify
Christ by walking in the way of his precepts ; but
at present thou wantest life ; the avenger of blood
is behind thee, and the devil like a roaring lion is
behind thee ; well, come now, and obtain life from
these ; and when thou hast obtained some comfort-
able persuasion that thou art made partaker of
life by Christ, then, and not till then, thou wilt
say, ' Bless the Lord, my soul, and all that is
within me bless his holy name. Bless the Lord,
my soul, and forget not all his benefits:! who
forgiveth all thine iniquities, who healeth all thy
diseases ; who redeemeth thy life from destruction ;
Avho crowneth thee with loving-kindness and tender
mercies.' Ps. cui. 1—4.

Object. 3. But I cannot believe that I come to
Clirist aright, because sometimes I am apt to question
his very being and office to save.

Thus to do is horrible ; but mayest thou not
judge amiss in this matter?

How can I judge amiss, when I judge as I feel?
Poor soid ! Thou mayest judge amiss for all
that. Why, saith the sinner, I think that these
questionings come from my heart.

Let me answer. That which comes from thy
heart, comes from thy will and affections, from
thy understanding, judgment, and conscience, for
these must acquiesce in thy questioning, if thy
questioning be with thy heart. And how sayest
thou, for to name no more, dost thou with thy
affection and conscience thus question ? Answ. No,
my conscience trembles when such thoughts come
into my mind ; and my affections are otherwise

Then I conclude, that these things are either
suddenly injected by the devil, or else are the

* ' Salve ;' relief, aid, or help.

' Which Cambell seing, though he could not sahe,
He done undoe, yet for to salve his name
And purchase honour to his friend's hehalve,
This goodly counterfesaunce he did frame.'

Spenser's Faery Queen.

f AVe cannot remember all God's benefits, but how prone
we are to forget them all ! — Ed.



fruits of that body of sin and death that yet dwells
within thee, or perhaps from both together.

If they come wholly from the devil, as they
seem, because thy conscience and affections are
against them, or if they come from that body of
death that is in thee, and be not thou curious in
inquiring from whether of them they come, the
safest way is to lay enough at thy own door ;
nothing of this should hinder thy coming, nor
make thee conclude thou comest not aright.*

And before I leave thee, let me a little query
with thee about this matter.

1 . Dost thou like these wicked blasphemies ?
Answ. No, no, their presence and working kills me.

2. Dost thou mourn for them, pray against them,
and hate thyself because of them? Answ. Yes,
yes ; but that which afflicts me is, I do not prevail
against them.

3. Dost thou sincerely choose, mightest thou
have thy choice, that thy heart might be affected
and taken with the things that are best, most
heavenly, and holy? Answ. With all my heart,
and death the next hour, if it were God's will,
rather than thus to sin against him.

Well then, thy not liking of them, thy mourn-
ing for them, thy praying against them, and thy
loathing thyself because of them, with thy sincere
choosing of those thoughts for thy delectation that
are heavenly and holy, clearly declares, that these
things are not countenanced either with thy will,
affections, understanding, judgment, or conscience ;
and so, that thy heart is not in them, but that
rather they come immediately from the devil, or
arise from the body of death that is in thy flesh,
of which thou oughtest thus to say, ' Now, then,
it is no more I that do it, but siu that dwelleth
in me.' Ro. vii. 17.

I will give thee a pertinent instance. In Deut.
xxii., thou mayest read of a betrothed damsel, one
betrothed to her beloved, one that had given him
her heart and mouth, as thou hast given thyself
to Christ ; yet was she met with as she walked in
the field, by one that forced her, because he was
stronger than she. Well, what judgment now
doth God, the righteous judge, pass upon the
damsel for this ? ' The man only that lay with
her,' saith God, * shall die. But unto the damsel
thou shalt do nothing ; tliere is in the damsel no
sin worthy of death. For, as when a man riseth
against his neighbour, and slayeth him, even so

* Christian, in the Valley of the Shadow of Death, was thus
exercised : — ' I took notice that now poor Christian was so
confounded that he did not know his own voice; and thus I
perceived it: — Just when he was come over agaiust the mouth
of the hurning pit, one of the wicked ones got behind him,
and stepped up softly to him, and whispcringly suggested
many grievous blasphemies to him, which he verily thought had
proceeded from his own mind.' See also Grace Abounding,
ho. 100-102.— Ed.

is this matter; for he found her in the field, and
the betrothed damsel cried, and there was none to

Save her. ' De. xxii. 2'>-l'7.

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 field, as thou art wandering after Jesua
Christ ; but thou criest out, and by thy cry did
show, that thou abhorrcst 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 of the devil.' Ac. x. 38.

Object. 4. But, saith another, / 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 Clirist.

Answ. 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.

1. The moving of the heart after Christ is not
to be discerned, at all times, by thy sensible affec-
tionate 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 to be even as thou sayest it is,
that thou comest so slowly, <fec, 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 groaned
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 ninth 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 which 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.' Ca. xiv. iu>. vii. Ga. v. 19. The work.-., strag-
glings, 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. W hat
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 coining 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 f o ungainly about our business ; but the sweet
aud warm gleads* of promise are like the com-
fortable beams of the sun, which liven and re-
fresh, t You see how little the bee and fly do play
in the air in winter; why, the cold hinders them
from doing it ; but when the wind and sun is 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. my sloth and heartlessness,
sayest thou ! ' Oh that I had wings like a dove !
for then would I fly away, and be at rest. I
would hasten my escape from the windy storm and
tempest. ' rs. 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 spurr-
ing, 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,
Mar. x. 17, but according to the sincerity of the heart
and inward parts. Jn. i. 47. Vs. li. 6. Mat. 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 Sa. xix.), he was
content, and concluded, he would have come after
him faster than he did ; and Mephibosheth 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 back-
wardness lay in his lameness, and not in his mind.
Why, poor coming sinner, thou canst not come to
Christ with that outward swiftness of a courier as


* ''Warm gleads;' from Saxon glow, anything heated or

' My destiny to behold her doth mc leade,
And yet I know I runne into the gleade.'—Wyatt— Ed.

t Many misspend their time in poring upon their own
hearts, to find out some evidence of their interest in Christ,
when they should rather be employed in receiving Christ, aud
walking in him, by a confident faith grounded on the Divine
testimony. — Mason.

| How striking are Bnnyan's illustrations ! The devil, as a
roaring lion, is in pursuit of the Hying sinner; he would flee
faster than his infirmities will let him. We cannot wonder
that modern preachers borrowed so vivid and truthful a figure.

many others do ; but doth the reason of thy back-
wardness lie in thy mind and will, or in the slug-
gishness of the flesh? Canst thou say sincerely,
' The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.'
Mat., xxvi. 41. Yea, canst thou appeal to the Lord
Jesus, who knoweth 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 halted a
remnant,' Mi. iv. 6, 'and I will save her that halteth.'
Zep. m. 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 mer-
chandise of Ethiopia and of the Sabeans, men of
stature, shall come over unto thee, and they shall
be thine : they shall come after thee : in chains
they shall come over, and they shall fall down unto
thee : they shall make supplication unto thee, say-
ing - Surely there is none else ' to save. is. xiv. 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 are so heavy as those that
discourage 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.
La. i. 14 ; iii. is. But come, though thou comest in

Online LibraryJohn BunyanThe works of John Bunyan (Volume 1) → online text (page 60 of 182)