John Bunyan.

The works of John Bunyan (Volume 1) online

. (page 80 of 182)
Online LibraryJohn BunyanThe works of John Bunyan (Volume 1) → online text (page 80 of 182)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

be laid with those that refused the grace of God.

Sinners, take my advice, with which I shall con-
clude this use — Call often to remembrance that thou
hast a precious soul within thee ; that thou art in
the way to thine end, at which thy precious soul will
be in special concerned, it being then time to delay
no longer, the time of reward being come. I say
again, bring thy end home; put thyself in thy
thoughts into the last day thou must live in this
world, seriously arguing thus — How if this day
were my last? How if I never see the sun rise
more? How if the first voice that rings to-morrow
morning in my heavy ears be, ' Arise, ye dead, and
come to judgment?' Or bow, if the next sight I
see with mine eyes be the Lord in the clouds, with
all his angels, raining floods of fire and brimstone
upon the world ? Am I in a case to be thus near
mine end? to bear this trump of God? or to see
this great appearance of this great God, and the
Lord Jesus Christ? Will my profession, or the
faith I think I have, carry me through all the trials
of God's tribunal? Cannot his eyes, which are as
a flame of fire, see in my words, thoughts, and
actions enough to make me culpable of the wrath
of God? how serious should sinners be in
this work of remembering things to come, of laying
to their heart the greatness and terror of that
notable day of God Almighty, and in examining
themselves, how it is like to go with their souli
when they shall stand before the Judge indeed!
To this end, God make this word effectual. Amen.t

t This is a striking and soul-searching appeal. O that
the Holy Spirit may ' search me and try me, aud see if there
be any wicked way iu me, and lead me ia the way ever-
lasting,' before we go hence into the eternal state!— En.









This admirable Treatise upon the most important
of all subjects, that of the soul's salvatiou, was
first published in a pocket volume, in the year
1675. This has become very rare, but it is in-
serted in every edition of the author's collected
works. Our copy is reprinted from the first edi-
tion published after the author's decease, in a
small folio volume of his works, 1691. Although
it is somewhat encumbered with subdivisions, it
is plain, practical, and written in Bunyan's strong
and energetic style; calculated to excite the deepest
attention, and to fix the mind upon those solemn
realities which alone can unite earth with heaven.
How extensive is the meaning of that little sen-
tence, 'Saved by Grace!' It includes in it re-
demption from the curse of sin, which oppresses
the poor sinner with the fears of everlasting burn-
ings ; while it elevates the body, soul, and spirit,
to an eternal and an exceeding weight of glory —
to the possession of infinite treasures, inconceivable,
and that never fade away.

Bunyan, in opening and deeply investigating
this subject, shows his master hand in every page.
It was a subject which, from his first conviction
of sin, while playing a game at cat on a Sunday,
had excited his feelings to an intense degree, ab-
sorbing all the powers of his soul. It was emin-
ently to him the one thing needful — the sum and
substance of human happiness. He felt that it
included the preservation and re-structure of the
body — raised from filth and vileness — from sick-
ness, pain, and disease — from death and the grave
— to be perfected in immortality like the Saviour's
glorious body. That included in this salvation, is
the death of death, and the swallowing up of the
grave, to be no more seen for ever. The soul will
be perfect, and, re-united with the body, be filled
1 with bliss and glory, as much as ever it can hold;'
all jars and discord between soul and body will be
finished, and the perfect man be clothed with
righteousness; in a word, be like Christ and with

him. All this is the work of grace, performed by
the ever-blessed Trinity.

In displaying the feelings and experience of the
inquiring, alarmed, quickened sinner, we are in-
structed by a continual illustration of the Grace
Abounding to the Chief of Sinners. He manifests
profound knowledge of the devices of Satan — the
workings of unbelief — the difficulties thrown by
the wicked one in the way of the sinner, to prevent
his approach to Christ. He fastens conviction upon
conviction — gives blow upon blow to human pride;
proving that there can be found nothing in our
fallen nature to recommend the sinner to God —
all is of grace — from the foundation to the top-
stone of a sinner's salvation. And above all, he
clearly shows that salvation by grace is the most
sin-killing doctrine in the world, as well as the
most consoling tidings that can be brought to a
sin-sick soul. ' 0, when a God of grace is upon
a throne of grace, and a poor sinner stands by
and begs for grace, and that in the name of a
gracious Christ, in and by the help of the Spirit
of grace, can it be otherwise but that such a sin-
ner must obtain mercy and grace to help in time
of need ? 0, then, come boldly !' p. 360.

But I must not detain the reader from entering
upon this solemn subject; only for a moment,
while I quote another passage conceived in all the
ardour of Bunyan's feelings : — ' Son of God !
grace was in all thy tears — grace came out where
the whip smote thee, where the thorns pricked
thee, where the nails and spear pierced thee !
blessed Son of God ! Here is grace indeed !
Unsearchable riches of grace ! Grace to make
angels wonder, grace to make sinners happy,
grace to astonish devils ! And what will become
of them that trample under foot this Son of God V

Reader, may this searching, comforting, reviving
subject be blessed to our well-grounded consola-
tion !

Ceo. Offor.




Courteous Reader,

In this little book thou art presented with a dis-
course of the grace of God, and of salvation by
that grace. In which discourse, thou shalt find
how each Person in the Godhead doth his part in
the salvation of the sinner. I. The Father put-
teth forth his grace, thus. II. The Son putteth
forth his grace, thus. III. And the Spirit put-
teth forth bis grace, thus. Which things thou
shalt find here particularly handled.

Thou shalt also find, in this small treatise, the
way of God with the sinner, as to bis conver-

sation,* and the way of the sinner with God in
the same ; wbere[in] the grace of God, and the
wickedness of the sinner, do greatly show them-

If thou findest me short in things, impute that
[to] my love to brevity. If thou findest me be-
sides the truth in aught, impute that to mine
infirmity. But if thou findest anything here that
servetb to thy furtherance and joy of faith, impute
that to the mercy of God bestowed on thee and

Thine to serve thee with that little I have,

J. B.



Ik the first chapter, from the fourth to the
twelfth verse, the apostle is treating of the doctrine
of election, both with respect to the act itself,
the end, and means conducing thereto. TJie act,
he tells us, was God's free choice of some. ver. 4,
5, n. The end was God's glory in their salvation.
Ter. 6, 14. The means conducing to that end was
Jesus Christ himself — ' In whom we have redemp-
tion through his blood, the forgiveness of sins,
according to the riches of his grace.' ver. 7. This
done, he treateth of the subjection of the Ephe-
sians to the faith, as it was held forth to them in
the Word of the truth of the gospel, as also of
their being sealed hy the Holy Spirit of God unto
the day of redemption, ver. 12-14.

Moreover, he tellcth them how he gave thanks
to God for them, making mention of them in his
prayers, even that he would make them see ' what
is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of
the glory of his inheritance in the saints, and what
7* the exceeding greatness of his power to us-
ward who believe, according to the working of his
mighty power, which he wrought in Christ, when
be raised bun from the dead,' &,c. ver. 15-20.

And lest the the hearing of these
tin ir so many privileges, should forget how little
rved them, he tells them that in time past
they were dead in trespasses and sins, and that
then they walked in them ' according to the course
of this world, according to the prince of the power
1 f the air, the spirit thai now worketh in the chil-
dren of disobedience.' Bph.u. 2, a.

Having thus railed them hack to the remem-
brance of themselves — to wit, what they were in

their state of unregeneracy, he proceedeth to show
them that their first quickening was by the resur-
rection of Christ their Head, in whom they before
were chosen, and that by him they were already
set down in heavenly places, ver. 5, 6 ; inserting, by
the way, the true cause of all this blessedness,
with whet else should be by us enjoyed in another
world; and that is, the love and grace of God:
• But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love
wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead
in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ
(by grace ye are saved).' These last words seem
to be the apostle's conclusion rightly drawn from
the premises; as who should say, If you Ephesians
were indeed dead in trespasses and sins ; if indeed
you were by nature the children of wrath, even as
others, then you deserve no more than others. t
Again, if God hath chosen you, if God bath justi-
fied and saved you by his Christ, and left others as
good as you by nature to perish in their sins, then
the true cause of this your blessed condition is, the
free grace of God. But just thus it is, therefore
by grace ye are saved ; therefore all the good which
you enjoy more than others, it is of mere goodwill.


The method that I shall choose to discourse
upon these words shall be this — I will propound
certain questions upon the words, and direct par-

* General course of manners, behaviour, deportment, espe-
cially as it regards morals (see Phil. i. 27; 1 1'et. i. 15).

t 'I heir conduct proved to the living that they were dead,
they themselves having no feeling or sense of spiritual life;
but, when quickened, their penitence and good works were
brought into existence by Divine power ; they feel the joys of
salvation, but feel also their total unworthiness of this nevv-
cicutiug power, and sing, 'U to grace how great a debtor!'— Eu



ticular answers to them ; in which answers I hope
I shall answer also, somewhat at least, the expecta-
tion of the godly and conscientious reader, and so
shall draw towards a conclusion.
The questions ahe —

I . Wliat is it to be saved ?

II. What is it to be saved by grace ?

III. Who are they tltat are saved by grace ?

IV. How it appears that they that are saved, are
caved by grace ?

V. What might be the reasons which prevailed
zoilh God to save vs by grace, rather titan by any
otlter means ?

Now the reason why I propound these five
questions upon the words, it is, because the
words themselves admit them ; the first three are
grounded upon the several phrases in the text,
and the two last are to make way for demonstra-
tion of the whole.

Qeest. I. — What is it to be saved ?

This question supposeth that there is such n
thing as damnation due to man for sin ; for to
save supposeth the person to be saved to be at
present in a sad condition ; saving, to him that is
not lost, signifies nothing, neither is it anything
in itself. 'To save, to redeem, to deliver,' are in
the general terms equivalent, and they do all of
them suppose us to be in a state of thraldom and
misery; therefore this word 'saved,' in the sense
that the apostle here doth use it, is a word of great
worth, forasmuch as the miseries from which we
are saved is the misery of all most dreadful.

The miseries from which they that shall be
saved shall by their salvation be delivered, are
dreadful ; they are no less than sin, the curse of
God, and flames of hell for ever. What more
abominable than sin ? What more insupportable
than the dreadful wrath of an angry God ? And
what more fearful than the bottomless pit of hell ?
I say, what more fearful than to be tormented
there for ever with the devil and his angels ? Now,
to ' save,' according to my text, is to deliver the
sinner from these, with all things else that attend
them. And although sinners may think that it is
no hard matter to answer this question, yet I must
tell you there is no man, that can feelingly know
what it is to be saved, that knoweth not experi-
mentally something of the dread of these three
things, as is evident, because all others do even by
their practice count it a thing of no great concern,
when yet it is of all other of the highest concern
among men; 'For what is a man profited if he
shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?'

Mat. xvi. 26.

But, 1 say, if this word 'saved' concludeth our
deliverance from sin, how can he tell what it is to
be saved that hath not in his conscience groaned i

vol. I.

under the burden of sin ? yea, it is impossible else
that he should ever cry out with all his heart,
' Men and brethren, what shall we do ?' — that is,
do to be saved. Ac. n. 37. The man that hath no
sores or aches cannot know the virtue of the salve;
I mean, not know it from his own experience, and
therefore cannot prize, nor have that esteem of it,
as he that hath received cure thereby. Clap a
plaster to a well place, and that maketh not its
virtue to appear; neither can he to whose flesh it
is so applied, by that application understand its
worth. Sinners, you, I mean, that are not wounded
with guilt, and oppressed witli the burden of sin,
you cannot — I will say it again — you cannot know,
in this senseless condition of yours, what it is to
be saved.

Again ; this word * saved,' as I said, concludeth
deliverance from the wrath of God. How, then,
can he tell what it is to be saved that hath not felt
the burden of the wrath of God ? He — he that is
astonished with, and that tremblcth at, the wrath
of God — he knows best what it is to be saved.

Ac. xvi. 29.

Further, this word 'saved,' it concludeth deli-
verance from death and hell. How, then, can he
tell what it is to be saved that never was sensible
of the sorrows of the one, nor distressed with the
pains of the other? The Psalmist says, ' The sor-
rows of death compassed me, and the pains of hell
gat hold upon me : I found trouble and sorrow.
Then called I upon the name of the Lord ' — (mark,
then), ' then called I upon the name of the Lord;

Lord, I beseech thee, deliver my soul,' — then,
in my distress. When he knew what it was to be
saved, then he called, because, I say, then he
knew what it was to be saved, ra. rviii. 4, 5 ; civi. s, 4.

1 say, this is the man, and this only, that knows
what it is to be saved. And this is evident, as is
manifest by the little regard that the rest have to
saving, or the little dread they have of damnation.
Where is he that seeks and groans for salvation?
I say, where is he that hath taken his flight for
salvation, because of the dread of the wrath to
come? ' generation of vipers, who hath warned
you to flee from the wrath to come?' Mat.iS.7.
Alas ! do not the most set light by salvation I —
as for sin, how do they love it, embrace it, please
themselves with it, hide it still within their mouth,
and keep it close under their tongue. Besides,
for the wrath of God, they feel it not, they fly not
from it ; and for hell, it is become a doubt to many
if there be any, and a mock to those whose doubt
is resolved by atheism.

But to come to the question — What is it to be
saved? To be saved may either respect salvation
in the whole of it, or salvation in the parts ot it,
or both. I think this text respectcth both — to
wit, salvation completing, and salvation completed;
for ' to save ' is a work of many steps; or, to be
2 c



lain as possible, * to save ' is a work that hath
it, beginning before the world began, and shall
not be completed before it is ended.

First, then, we may be said to be saved in the
purpose of God before the world began. The
apostle saith that ' he saved us, and called us with
.ui holy calling, not according to our works, but
according to his own purpose and grace, which
was given us in Christ Jesus before the world be-
gan.' a t>. L u. This is the beginning of salvation,
and according to this beginning all things concur
and fall out in conclusion — ' He hath saved us
according to his eternal purpose, which he purposed
in Christ Jesus.' God in thus saving may be said
to save us by determining to make those means
effectual for the blessed completing of our salva-
tion ; and heuce we are said ' to be chosen in
Christ to salvation.' And again, that he hath in
that choice given us that grace that shall complete
our salvation. Yea, the text is very full, ' He
hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in
heavenly i$,aces in Christ, according as he hath
chosen us in him before the foundation of the
world.' Kp. i. 3, 4.

Second. As we may be said to be saved in the
purpose of God before the foundation of the world,
BO we may be said to be saved before we are con-
verted, or called to Christ. And hence ' saved '
is put before 'called;' 'he hath saved us, and
called us ;' he saith not, he hath called us, and
saved us ; but he puts saving before calling. 2 Ti. i. 9.
So again, we are said to be ' preserved in Christ
and called;' he saith not, called and preserved.
JuJe i. And therefore God saith again, ' I will
pardon them whom I reserve ' — that is, as Paul
expounds it, those whom I have 'elected and kept,'
and this part of salvation is accomplished through
the forbearance of God. Jc. l. 20. Ro. xi. 4, 5. God
beareth with his own elect, for Christ's sake, all
the time of their unregeneracy, until the time
comes which he hath appointed for their conver-
sion. The sins that we stood guilty of before
conversion, had the judgment due to them been
executed upon us, we had not now been in the
world to partake of a heavenly calling. But the
judgment due to them hath been by the patience
ol God prevented, and we saved all the time of our
ungodly and unconverted state, from that death,
ami those many hells, that for our sins we deserved
at the hands of < rod.

And bere lies the reason that long life is granted
to the eleel before conversion, and that all the sins
commit and all the judgments they deserve,
cannot drive them out of the world before conver-
sion. Manasseh, you know, was a great sinner,
and for the trespass which be committed he was
driven from his own land, and carried to Babylon;
but kill him they could not, though his Bins had
rved death ten thousand times. But what was

the reason? Why, he was not yet called; God
had chosen him in Christ, and laid up in him a
stock of grace, which must be given to Manasseh
before he dies ; therefore Manasseh must be con-
vinced, converted, and saved. That legion of
devils that was in the possessed, with all the sins
which he had committed in the time of his unre-
generacy, could not take away his life before his
conversion. War. v. How many times was that poor
creature, as we may easily conjecture, assaulted
for his life by the devils that were in him, yet
could they not kill him, yea, though his dwelling
was near the sea-side, and the devils had power to
drive him too, yet could they not drive him further
than the mountains that were by the sea-side; yea,
they could help him often to break his chains and
fetters, and could also make him as mad as a bed-
lam,* they could also prevail with him to separate
from men, and cut himself with stones, but kill
him they could not, drown him they could not ; he
was saved to be called ; he was, notwithstanding
all this, preserved in Christ, and called. As it is
said of the young lad in the gospel, he was by the
devil cast oft into the fire, and oft into the water,
to destroy him, but it could not be ; even so hath
he served others, but they must be ' saved to be
called.' Mar. ii. 22. How many deaths have some
been delivered from and saved out of before con-
version ! Some have fallen into rivers, some into
wells, some into the sea, some into the hands of
men ; yea, they have been justly arraigned and
condemned, as the thief upon the cross, but must
not die before they have been converted. They
were preserved in Christ, and called.

Called Christian, how many times have thy sins
laid thee upon a sick-bed, and, to thine and others'
thinking, at the very mouth of the grave? yet God
said concerning thee, Let him live, for he is not yet
converted. Behold, therefore, that the elect are
saved before they are called. t ' God, who is rich

* The hospital of St. Mary Bethlem, vulgarly called ' Bed-
lam,' bestowed, in 1545, upon the citizens of London, who ap-
propriated it to the reception of luaatics. It being the only
public hospital for that class of the afflicted in England, it
gave the name of ' bedlam ' to all whose conduct could only be
accounted for on the score of madness. — Ed.

t The person who writes this, was a singular instance of the
truth of our author's remark ; having been twice providentially
preserved from drowning, and once from the fatal effects of a
\ iolent fever, before effected saving grace had reached Ms soul.
The same rich and abundant mercy follows all the elect,
quickens them when dead, saves them when lost, and restores
them when ruined. God hath chosen us uuto salvation, aud
enables us to live holily on earth, in order to a life of happiness
in heaven. The Father's good will and pleasure is the only
fountain from whence the salvation of believers flows; and
such as are given to Christ by the Father he considers as
his charge, and stands engaged for their preservation; aud the
death of Christ for sinners, is an evident demonstration of the
love of God the bather, aud the Lord Jesus Christ, towards
them ; this love manifested in time was in and upon the heart
of God before the world began. — Mason. What a multitude
of unseen dangers, both spiritual and temporal, the Christian
escapes before he is called 1 — En.



in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved, us,
even when we were dead in sins,' hath preserved
us in Christ, and called us. Ep. ii. 4, 5.

Now this • saving ' of us arises from six causes.

1. God hath chosen us unto salvation, and there-
fore will not frustrate his own purposes. 1 Th. v. 9.

2. God hath given us to Christ ; and his gift, as
well as his calling, is without repentance. Ro. xi. 29.
Jn. vi. 37. 3. Christ hath purchased us with his
hlood. Ro. v. 8, o. 4. They are, by God, counted in
Clirist before they are converted. Ep.i.3,4. 5. They
are ordained before conversion to eternal life; yea,
to be called, to be justified, to be glorified, and
therefore all this must come upon them. Ho.viii. 29, 30.
G. For all this, he hath also appointed them their
portion and measure of grace, and that before the
world began ; therefore, that they may partake of
all these privileges, they are saved and called,
preserved in Christ, and called.

TJtird. To be saved is to be brought to, and
helped to lay hold on, Jesus Christ by faith. And
this is called saving by grace through faith. 'For
by grace are ye saved through faith ; and that not
of yourselves, it is the gift of God.' Ep. ii. 8.

1. They must be brought unto Christ, yea,
drawn unto him ; for ' no man,' saith Christ, ' can
come to me, except the Father which hath sent
me draw him.' Jn. vi. u. Men, even the elect, have
too many infirmities to come to Christ without
help from heaven ; inviting will not do. 'As they
called them, so they went from them,' therefore
he ' drew them with cords.' Ho. xi. 2, t.

2. As they must be brought to, so they must
be helped to lay hold on Christ by faith ; for as
coming to Christ, so faith, is not in our own power ;
therefore we are said to be raised up with him
' through the faith of the operation of God.' And
again, we are said to believe, ' according to the
working of his mighty power, which he wrought
in Christ, when he raised him from the dead.'

Online LibraryJohn BunyanThe works of John Bunyan (Volume 1) → online text (page 80 of 182)