John Bunyan.

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at this turn. Shall the devil's kingdom be united,
and shall Christ's be divided ? Shall the devils
make one shoulder to drive on the design of damn-
ing men, and. sliall not Christians imite to carry on

the great design of saving of them ? Shall the
Papists agree and unite to carry on their interest,
notwithstanding the mxiltitudes of orders, degrees,
and differences that are among them, and shall not
those that call themselves reformed churches unite
to carry on the common interest of Christ in the
world, notwithstanding some petty and disputable
differences that are among them ? Quarrels about
religion, as one observes, were sins not named
among the Gentiles. What a shame is it, then, for
Christians to abound in them, especially consider-
ing the nature of the Christian religion, and what
large provisions the author of it hath made to keep
the professors of it in peace ; insomuch, as one well
observes, it is next to a miracle that ever any, espe-
cially the professors of it, should fall out about it.
13. Consider and remember that the Judge
stands at the door ; let this moderate our spirits,
that the Lord is at hand. What a sad account
will they have to make when he comes, that shall
be found to smite their feUow-servants, and to make
the way to his kingdom more narrow than ever he
made it ? Let me close all in the words of that
great apostle, 2Co. xUi. ii: 'Finally, brethren, fare-
well. Be perfect, be of good comfort, be of one
mind, live in peace ; and the God of love and peace
shall be with you.'


Reader, I thought good to advertise thee that I
have delivered this to thy hand in the same order
and method in which it was preached, and almost
in the same words, without any diminishings or
considerable enJargings, miless it be in the thirteen
last particulars, upon some of which I have made
some enlargements, which I could not then do for
want of time ; but the substance of every one of
them was then laid down in the same particular
order as here thou hast them: and now 1 have
done, I make no other account, to use the words
of a moderate man upon the like occasion, but it
will fall out with me, as doth commonly with him
that parts a fray, both parties may perhaps drive
at me for wishing them no worse than peace. My
ambition of the public tranquillity of the church
of God, I hope, will carry me through these
hazards. Let both beat me, so their quarrels may
cease ; I shall rejoice in those blows and scars I
shall take for the church's safety.




This sermon, altliough very short, is peculiarly
interesting : how it was preserved we are not told ;
but it bears strong marks of having been pub-
lished from notes taken by one of the hearers.
There is no proof that any memorandum or notes
of this sermon was found in the autograph of the

In the list of Bunyan's works published by Chas.
Doe, at the end of the ' Heavenly Footman,' March
1690, it stands No. 44. He professes to give the
title-page, word for word, as it was first printed,
It is, • Mr. John Bunyan's last sermon, at London,
preached at Mr. Gamman's meeting-house, near
Whitechapel, August 19th, 1688, upon John i.
13: showing a resemblance between a natural
and a spiritual birth; and how every man and
woman may try themselves, and know whether
they are born again or not.' Published 1689,

in about one sheet in 12rao. From this it
appears to have been preached only two days
before his fatal illness, and twelve days before
his decease, which took place August 31st,
1688. The disease which terminated his invalu-
able life, was brought on by a journey to Reading
on horseback, undertaken with the benevolent
design of reconciling an oflfended father to his
son. Having accomplished his object, he rode
to London ; on his way home, through a heavy
rain, the effects of which appeared soon after this,
his last sermon was preached. He bore, with
most exemplary patience and resignation, the fever
which invaded his body ; and, at a distance from
his wife and family, in the house of his friend Mr.
Strudwick, at Suow Hill, his pilgrimage was ended,
and he fell asleep in perfect peace, to awake amidst
the harmonies and glory of the celestial city.

Geo. Offor.


GOD.' JOHN I. 13.

The words have a dependence on what goes
before, and therefore I must direct you to them
for the right understanding of it. You have it
thus : ' He came unto his own, and his own
received him not ; but as many as received him,
to them gave he power to become the sons of God,
even to them that believe on his name : which were
born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh -
but of God.'

In the words before, you have two things. First,
Some of his own rejecting him, when he offered
himself to them. SecoTvd, Others of his own
receiving him, and making him welcome; those
that reject him, he also passes by ; but those that
receive him, he gives them power to become the
sons of God.

Now, lest any one should look upon it as good
luck or fortune, says he, they * were born, not of
blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will
of man, but of God.' They that did not receive
him, they were only born of flesh and blood ; but

those that receive him, they have God to their
Father; they receive the doctrine of Christ with
a vehement desire.


First, I will show you what he means by blood.
They that believe are born to it, as an heir is to
an inheritance — they are born of God, not of flesh,
nor of the will of man, but of God ; not of blood,
that is, not by generation, not born to the king-
dom of heaven by the flesh, not because I am the
son of a godly man or woman — that is meant by
blood ; Ac. xvii. 26: He ' hath made of one blood all
nations.' But Avhen he says here, ' not of blood,'
he rejects all carnal privileges they did boast of:
they boasted they were Abraham's seed; no, no,
says he, it is not of blood ; think not to say you
have Abraham to your father ; you must be bora
of God, if you go to the kingdom of heaven.

Second, 'Nor of the will of the flesh,' What
must we understand by that ?

It is taken for those vehement inclinations that
are in man, to all manner of looseness, fulfilling
the desires of the flesh : that must not be understood



here ; men are not made tlie children of God by
fulfilHng their lustful desires. It must he under-
stood liere iu the best sense : there is not only in
carnal men a will to be vile, but there is in them
a will to bo saved also ; a will to go to heaven
also. But this it will not do ; it will not privilege
a man in the things of the kingdom of God:
natural desires after the things of another world,
they are not an argument to prove a man shall go
to laeaven whenever he dies. I am not a free-
wiUer, I do abhor it ; yet there is not the wicked-
est man but he desires, some time or other, to be
saved ; he will read some time or other, or, it may
be, pray, but this will not do : 'It is not of him
that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God
that sheweth mercy. * There is willing and run-
ning, and yet to no purpose. Ko. ix. 16. Israel,
which followed after the law of righteousness,
have not obtained it, vcr. so. Here, I do not under-
stand, as if the apostle had denied a virtuous course
of life to be the way to heaven ; but that a man
without grace, though he have natural gifts, yet
he shall not obtain privilege to go to heaven, and
be the son of God. Though a man without grace
may have a will to be saved, yet he cannot have
that will God's M'ay. Nature, it cannot know any
thing but the things of nature — the things of God
knows no man but by the Spirit of God ; unless
the Spirit of God be in you, it will leave you on
this side the gates of heaven. ' Not of blood, nor
of the wiU of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but
of God.' It may be, some may have a will, a
desire that Ishmael may be saved ; know this,
it will not save thy child. If it was our will, I
would have you all go to heaven. How many are
there in the world that pray for their children,
and cry for them, and are ready to die [for
them] ? and this will not do. God's will is the
rule of all ; it is only through Jesus Christ : ' which
were born, not of flesh, nor of the will of man, but
of God.'

Now I come to the doctrine.

Men that believe in Jesus Christ, to the effec-
tual receiving of Jesus Christ, they are born to it.
He does not say they sJiaU be bom to it, but they
are born to it — born of God unto God and the
things of God, before he receives God to eternal
salvation. ' Except a man be born again, he can-
not see the kingdom of God.' Now, unless he be
born of God, he cannot see it: suppose the king-
dom of God be what it will, he cannot see it before
he be begotten of God. Suppose it be the gospel,
he cannot see it before lie be brought into a state
of regeneration. Believing is the consequence of
the new birth ; ' not of blood, nor of the will of
man, but of God.*

First, I will give you a clear description of it
under one similitude or two. A child, before it be

born into the world, is in the dark dungeon of its
mother's womb : so a child of God, before he be
born again, is in the dark dungeon of sin, sees
nothing of the kingdom of God; therefore it is
called a new birth : the same soul has love one
way in its carnal condition, another way when it
is born again.

Second, As it is comj)ared to a birth, resembling
a child in his mother's womb, so it is compared to
a man being raised out of the grave ; and to be
born again, is to be raised out of the grave of sin ;
' Awake, thou that sleepest, and arise from the
dead, and Christ shall give thee light.' To be
raised from the grave of sin is to be begotten and
born ; Re. i. 5: there is a famous instance of Christ ;
He is ' the first begotten of the dead ; ' he is the
first-born from the dead, unto which our regenera-
tion alludeth ; that is, if you be born again by
seeking those things that are above, then there is
a similitude betwixt Christ's resurrection and the
new birth ; which was born, which was restored out
of this dark world, and translated out of the king-
dom of this dark world, into the kingdom of his
dear Son, and made us live a new life — this is to
be born again : and he that is delivered from the
mother's womb, it is the help of the mother; so
he that is bora of God, it is by the Spirit of God.
I must give you a few consequences of a ncv/

(1.) Fii'st of all, A child, you know, is incident
to cry as soon as it comes into the world; for if
there be no noise, they say it is dead. You
that are born of God, and Christians, if you be not
criers, there is no spiritual life in you — if you be
born of God, you are crying ones ; as soon as he
has raised you out of the dark dungeon of sin, you
cannot but cry to God, What must I do to be
saved ? As soon as ever God had touched the
jailer, he cries out, * Men and brethren, what must
I do to be saved ? ' Oh ! how many prayerless
professors is there in London that never pray!
Coffee-houses will not let you pray, trades will not
let you pray, looking-glasses will not let you pray ;
but if you was born of God, you would.

(2.) It is not only natural for a child to cry,
but it must crave the breast ; it cannot live with-
out the breast — therefore Peter makes it the true
trial of a new-born babe: the new-born babe
desires the sincere milk of the Word, that he may
grow thereby: if you be born of God, make it
manifest by desiring the breast of God. Do you
long for the milk of the promises ? A man lives
one way when he is in the world, another way
when he is brought imto Jesus Christ, is. ixvi. They
shall suck and be satisfied ; if you be born again,
there is no satisfaction till you get the milk of
God's Word into your souls, is. ixvi. ii. To * suck
and be satisfied with the breasts of her consola-



tlou.' oil I v.-Lat is a promise to a carnal man?
A whore-house, it may be, is more sweet to him ;
but if jou be born again, you cannot live without
the milk of God's Word. What is a woman's
breast to a horse ? But what is it to a child ?
there is its comfort night and day, there is its
succour night and day. how loath are they it
should be taken from them : minding heavenly
things, says a carnal man, is but vanity ; but to a
child of God, there is his comfort.

(3.) A child that is newly born, if it have not
other comforts to keep it warm than it had in its
mother's womb, it dies ; it must have something-
got for its succour: so Christ had swaddling-
clothes prepared for him ; so those that are born
again, they must have some promise of Christ to
keep them alive; those that are in a carnal state,
they warm themselves with other things ; but
those that are born again, they cannot live Avith-
out some promise of Christ to keep them alive ; as
he did to the poor infant in Eze. \n. s -. I covered
thee with embroidered gold : and when v>'omen are
with child, Avhat fine things will they prepare for
their child! Oh, but what fine things has Christ
prepared to wrap all in that are born again ! Oh
what wrappings of gold has Christ prepared for
all that are born again ! Women will dress their
children, that every one may see them how fine
they are ; so he in Eze. x\i. ii : * I decked thee also
v.ith ornaments, and I put bracelets upon thine
liands, and a chain on thy neck ; and I put a jewel
on thy forehead, and ear-rings in thine ears, and a
beautiful crown upon thine head.' And, says he
in ver. 13, * Thou didst prosper into a kingdom.'
This is to set out nothing in the world but the
righteousness of Christ and the graces of the
Spirit, without which a new-born babe cannot live,
unless they have the golden righteousness of

(4.) A child, Avhen it is in its mother's lap, the
mother takes great delight to have that which will
be for its comfort; so it is with God's children,
they shall be kept on his knee ; is. ixn. ii : ' They
shall suck and be satisfied with the breasts of her
consolations;' ver. 13: 'As one whom liis mother
comforteth, so will I comfort you.' There is a
similitude in these things that nobody knows of,
but those that are born again.

(5.) There is usually some simiUtude betwixt
the father and the child. It may be the child looks
like its father ; so those that are born again, they
have a new similitude — they have the image of
Jesus Christ. Ga. iv. Every one that is born of God
Jias something of the features of heaven upon him.
j\Ien love those children that are likest them most
usually; so does God his children, therefore they
are called the children of God ; but others do not
look like him, therefore they are called Sodomites.

Christ describes children of the devil by their fea-
tures — the children of the devil, his works they
will do ; all works of unrighteousness, they are the
devil's works: if you are earthly, you have borne
the image of the earthly ; if heavenly, you have
borne the image of the heavenly.

(6.) When a man has a child, he trains him
up to his own liking — they have learned the cus-
tom of their father's house ; so are those that are
born of God — they have learned the custom of the
true church of God ; there they learn to cry ' My
Father' and 'My God;' tl^ey are brought up in
God's house, they learn the metliod and form of
God's house, for regulating their lives in this world.

(7.) Chikh-en, it is natural for them to depend
upon their father for what they want ; if they want
a pair of shoes, they go and tell him ; if they want
bread, they go and tell him ; so should the chil-
dren of God do. Do you want spiritual bread ? go
tell God of it. Do you want strength of grace ?
ask it of God. Do you want strength against
Satan's temptations ? go and tell God of it. When
the devil tempts you, run home and tell your hea-
venly Father — go, pour out your complaints to
God ; this is natural to children ; if any wronf^
them, they go and tell their father; so do those
that are bora of God, when they meet with temp-
tations, go and tell God of theia.

[tiie application.]

The first use is this. To make a strict inquiry
whether you be born of God or not; examine by
those things I laid down before, of a child of
nature and a child of grace. Are you brought
out of the dark dungeon of this world into Christ ?
Have you learned to cry, 'My Father ?' Je. iii. 4.
' And 1 said. Thou shalt call me, My Father.'
All God's children are crisr.s — cannot you be quiet
without you have a bellyful of the milk of God's
Word ? cannot you be satisfied without you have
peace with God ? Pray you, consider it, and be
serious v,-ith yourselves; if you have not these
marks, you will fall short of the kingdom of God —
you shall never have an interest there ; ' there' is
no intruding. They will say, ' Lord, Lord, open
to us; and he will say, I know you not.' No
child of God, no heavenly inheritance. We
sometimes give something to those that are not
our children, but [we do] not [give them] our
lands. do not flatter yourselves with a por-
tion among the sons, unless you live like sons.
When we see a king's son play with a beggar,
this is unbecoming; so if you be the king's
children, live like the king's children; if you
be risen with Christ, set your aff^ections on things
above, and not on things below; when you
come together, talk of your Father promised



you ; you should all love your Father's will, and
be content and pleased with the exercises you meet
with in the world. If you are the children of God,
live together lovingly ; if the world quarrel with
you, it°is no matter ; but it is sad if you quarrel
together; if this be amongst you, it is a sign of
ill°breeding ; it is not according to the rules you
have in the Word of God. Dost thou see a soul
that has the image of God in him ? Love him,
love him ; say. This man and I must go to heaven
one day; serve one another, do good for one

another; and if any wrong you, pray to God to
right you, and love the brotherhood.

Lastly, If you be the children of God, learn
that lesson — Gird up the loins of your mind, as
obedient children, not fashioning yourselves accord-
ing to your former conversation ; but be ye holy
in all manner of conversation. Consider that the
holy God is your Father, and let this oblige you
to live like the children of God, that you may look
your Father in the face, with comfort, another









Online LibraryJohn BunyanThe works of John Bunyan (Volume 2) → online text (page 171 of 171)