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The white devil – John Bunyan

October 14, 2016 Comments off

The White Devil

By John Bunyan

THIS doctrine of coming to Jesus Christ for life, informs us of the evil of UNBELIEF; that wicked thing which is the only or chief hindrance to the coming sinner. Doth the text say, “Come”? Doth it say, “And him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out”? Then what an evil is that, that keepeth sinners from coming to Jesus Christ? And that evil is UNBELIEF: for by faith we come; by UNBELIEF we keep away. Therefore it is that by which a soul is said to depart from God: because it was that which at first caused the world to go off from him, and that also, that keeps them from him to this day. And it doth it the more easily, because it doth it with a wile.

This sin may be called THE WHITE DEVIL. For it ofttimes, in its mischievous doing in the soul, shows as if it were an angel of light: yea, it acteth like a counsellor of heaven. Therefore, a little to discourse of this evil disease, I observe:

1. It is that sin, above all others, that hath some show of reason in its attempts. For it keeps the soul from Christ, by pretending its present unfitness and unpreparedness: as want of more sense of sin, want of more repentance, want of more humility, want of a more broken heart.

2. It is the sin that most suiteth with the conscience. The conscience of the coming sinner tells him, that he hath nothing good! that he stands inditable for ten thousand talents; that he is a very ignorant, blind and hard-hearted sinner, unworthy to be once taken notice of by Jesus Christ; and will you (says UNBELIEF) in such a case as you are now, presume to come to Jesus Christ?

3. It is the sin that most suiteth with our sense of feeling. The coming sinner feels the workings of sin, of all manner of sin and wretchedness in his flesh; he also feels the wrath and judgment of God due to sin and ofttimes staggers under it. Now, (says UNBELIEF) you may see you have no grace; for that which works in you is corruption. You may also perceive that God doth not love you, because the sense of his wrath abides upon you. Therefore, how can you bear the face to come to Jesus Christ?

4. It is that sin above all others that most suiteth the wisdom of our flesh. The wisdom of our flesh thinks it prudence to question awhile, to stand back awhile, to hearken to both sides awhile; and not to be rash, sudden, or unadvised, in too bold a presuming upon Christ. And this wisdom UNBELIEF falls in with.

5. It is the sin above all others, that continually is whispering in the ear the soul, with mistrusts of the faithfulness of God, in keeping promise to them that come to Jesus Christ for life. It also suggests mistrusts about Christ’s willingness to receive it, and save it. And no sin can do this so artfully as UNBELIEF.

6. It is also that sin which is always at hand to enter an objection against this or that promise, that by the Spirit of God is brought to our heart to comfort us. And if the poor coming sinner is not aware of it, it will by some exaction, slight, trick, or cavil, quickly wrest from him the promise again, and he shall have but little benefit of it.

7. It is that above all other sins, that weakens our prayers, our faith, our love, our diligence, our hope and expectations. It even taketh the heart away from God in duty.

8. Lastly, this sin, as I have said, even now, appears in the soul with so many sweet pretences to greater safety and security, that it is, as it were, counsel sent from heaven; bidding the soul be wise, wary, considerate, well-advised, and to take heed of too rash a venture upon believing. “Be sure, first, that God loves you; take hold of no promise until you are forced by God unto it; neither be sure of your salvation; doubt it still, though the testimony of the Lord has often been confirmed in you. Live not by faith, but by sense; and when you can neither see nor feel, then fear and mistrust, then doubt and question all.” This is the devilish counsel of UNBELIEF, which is so covered over with specious pretences, that the wisest Christian can hardly shake off these reasonings.

But to be brief. Let me here give the Christian reader a more particular description of the qualities of UNBELIEF, by opposing faith unto it, in these particulars. Faith believeth the word of God, but UNBELIEF questioneth the certainty of it (Psa 106:24). Faith believeth the word, because it is true; but UNBELIEF doubteth thereof, because it is true (1 Tim 4:3; John 8:45). Faith sees more in a promise of God to help, than in all other things to hinder; but UNBELIEF, notwithstanding God’s promise saith, `How can these things be?’ (Rom 4:19-21; 2 Kings 7:2; John 3:11,12). Faith will make thee see love in the heart of Christ, when with his mouth he gives reproofs; but UNBELIEF will imagine wrath in his heart, when with his mouth and word he saith he loves us (Matt 15:22-29;25:24). Faith will help the soul to wait, though God defers to give; but UNBELIEF will take offence and throw up all, if God makes any tarrying (Psa 25:5; Isa 8:17; 2 Kings 6:33). Faith will give comfort in the midst of fears; but UNBELIEF causeth fears in the midst of comforts (2 Chron 20:20,21; Matt 8:26; Luke 24:25). Faith will suck sweetness out of God’s rod; but UNBELIEF can find no comfort in his greatest mercies (Psa 23; Num 12). Faith maketh great burdens light; but UNBELIEF maketh light ones intolerably heavy (Mal 1:12,13). Faith helpeth us when we are down; but UNBELIEF throws us down when we are up (Micah 7:8- 10; Heb 4:11). Faith bringeth us near to God when we are far from him; but UNBELIEF puts us far from God when we are near to him (Heb 10:22; 3:12,13).

Where faith reigns, it declareth us to be the friends of God; but where UNBELIEF reigns, it declareth us to be his enemies (Heb 3:18; Rev 21:8). Faith putteth a man under grace; but UNBELIEF holdeth him under wrath (Rom 3:24-26; Eph 2:8; John 3:36; 1 John 5:10; Heb 3:17; Mark 16:16; John 8:24). Faith purifieth the heart; but UNBELIEF keepeth it polluted and impure (Acts 15:9; Titus 1:15,16). By faith the righteousness of Christ is imputed to us; but UNBELIEF shuts us up under the law to perish (Rom 4:23,24;11:32; Gal 3:23).

Faith maketh our work acceptable to God through Christ; but whatsoever is of UNBELIEF is sin. For without faith it is impossible to please him (Heb 11:4; Rom 14:23; Heb 11:6). Faith giveth us peace and comforteth our souls; but UNBELIEF worketh trouble and tossings, like the restless waves of the sea (Rom 5:1; James 1:6).

Faith maketh us see preciousness in Christ, but UNBELIEF sees no form, beauty, or comeliness in him (1 Pet 2; Isa 53:1-3). By faith we have our life in Christ’s fulness; but by UNBELIEF we starve and pine away (Gal 2:20). Faith gives us the victory over the law, sin, death, the devil, and all evils: but UNBELIEF lays us obnoxious to them all (1 John 5:4; Luke 12:46).

Faith will show us more excellency in things not seen, than in them that are; but UNBELIEF sees more in things that are, than in things that will be hereafter (2 Cor 4:18; Heb 11:24-27; 1 Cor 15:32).

Faith makes the ways of God pleasant and admirable; but UNBELIEF maketh them heavy and hard (Gal 4:6; 2 Cor 12:10,11; John 6:60; Psa 2:3).

By faith Abraham, Isaac and Jacob possessed the land of promise; but because of UNBELIEF, neither Aaron, nor Moses, nor Miriam could get thither (Heb 11:9; 3:19). By faith the children of Israel passed through the Red sea; but by UNBELIEF the generality of them perished in the wilderness (Heb 11:29; Jude 5). By faith Gideon did more with three hundred men, and a few empty pitchers, than all the twelve tribes could do, because they believed not God (Judg 7:16-22; Num 14:11,14). By faith Peter walked on the water; but by UNBELIEF he began to sink (Matt 14:22-33).

Thus might many more be added, which for brevity’s sake, I omit; beseeching every one that thinketh he hath a soul to save, or be damned, to take heed of UNBELIEF; lest seeing there is a promise left us of entering into his rest, any of us by UNBELIEF should indeed come short of it.

Categories: Bunyan, Unbelief Tags: ,

He who would true valour see – John Bunyan hymn

March 23, 2012 Comments off

Who would true Valour see

Who would true Valour see
Let him come hither;
One here will Constant be,
Come Wind, come Weather.
There’s no Discouragement,
Shall make him once Relent,
His first avow’d Intent,
To be a Pilgrim.

Who so beset him round,
With dismal Storys,
Do but themselves Confound;
His Strength the more is.
No Lyon can him fright,
He’l with a Gyant Fight,
But he will have a right,
To be a Pilgrim.

Hobgoblin, nor foul Fiend,
Can daunt his Spirit:
He knows, he at the end,
Shall Life Inherit.
Then Fancies fly away,
He’l fear not what men say,
He’l labour Night and Day,
To be a Pilgrim.

John Bunyan

Bunyan’s inward man faint, but revived by Jesus Christ – Grace abounding exerpt

March 23, 2012 Comments off

255. Upon a time I was something inclining to a consumption, wherewith about the spring I was suddenly and violently seized, with much weakness in my outward man; insomuch that I thought I could not live. Now began I afresh to give myself up to a serious examination after my state and condition for the future, and of my evidences for that blessed world to come: for it hath, I bless the name of God, been my usual course, as always, so especially in the day of affliction, to endeavour to keep my interest in the life to come, clear before mine eyes.

256. But I had no sooner began to recall to mind my former experience of the goodness of God to my soul, but there came flocking into my mind an innumerable company of my sins and transgressions; amongst which these were at this time most to my affliction; namely, my deadness, dulness, and coldness in holy duties; my wanderings of heart, of my wearisomeness in all good things, my want of love to God, His ways and people, with this at the end of all, Are these the fruits of Christianity? Are these tokens of a blessed man?

257. At the apprehensions of these things my sickness was doubled upon me; for now I was sick in my inward man, my soul was clogged with guilt; now also was my former experience of God’s goodness to me, quite taken out of my mind, and hid as if they had never been, or seen: now was my soul greatly pinched between these two considerations, Live I must not, die I dare not. Now I sunk and fell in my spirit, and was giving up all for lost; but as I was walking up and down in the house as a man in a most woeful state, that word of God took hold of my heart, Ye are justified freely by His grace, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. Rom. iii. 24. But oh! what a turn it made upon me!

258. Now was I as one awaked out of some troublesome sleep and dream; and listening to this heavenly sentence, I was as if I had heard it thus expounded to me: Sinner, thou thinkest, that because thy sins and infirmities, I cannot save thy soul; but behold My Son is by me, and upon Him I look, and not on thee, and shall deal with thee according as I am pleased with Him. At this I was greatly lightened in my mind, and made to understand, that God could justify a sinner at any time; it was but His looking upon Christ, and imputing His benefits to us, and the work was forthwith done.

259. And as I was thus in a muse, that scripture also came with great power upon my spirit, Not by works of righteousness that we have done, but according to His mercy He hath saved us, etc. 2 Tim. i. 9; Tit. iii. 5. Now was I got on high, I saw myself within the arms of grace and mercy; and though I was before afraid to think of a dying hour, yet, now I cried, Let me die: Now death was lovely and beautiful in my sight, for I saw We shall never live indeed, till we be gone to the other world. Oh! methought this life is but a slumber, in comparison with that above. At this time also I saw more in these words, Heirs of God, Rom. viii. 17, than ever I shall be able to express while I live in this world: Heirs of God! God Himself is the portion of the saints. This I saw and wondered at, but cannot tell you what I saw.

Source: Grace abounding to the chief of sinners, by John Bunyan

The unpardonable sin – John Bunyan

June 10, 2011 Comments off

Object. Alas! man, I am afraid that I have sinned the unpardonable sin, and therefore there is no hope for me.

Answ. Dost thou know what the unpardonable sin, the sin against the Holy Ghost, is? and when it is committed?

Reply. It is a sin against light.

Answ. That is true; yet every sin against light is not the sin against the Holy Ghost.

Reply. Say you so?

Answ. Yea, and I prove it thus—If every sin against light had been the sin that is unpardonable, then had David and Peter and others sinned that sin; but though they did sin against light, yet they did not sin that sin; therefore every sin against light is not the sin against the Holy Ghost, the unpardonable sin.

Object. But the Scripture saith, “If we sin willfully after that we have received the knowledge of the Truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins; but a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.”

Answ. Do you know what that willful sin is?

Reply. Why, what is it? Is it not for a man to sin willingly after enlightening?

Answ. 1. Yes; yet doubtless every willing sin is not that; for then David had sinned it when he lay with Bathsheba; and Jonah, when he fled from the presence of the Lord; and Solomon also, when he had so many concubines. 2. But that sin is a sin that is of another nature, which is this—For a man after he hath made some profession of salvation to come alone by the blood of Jesus, together with some light and power of the same upon his spirit; I say, for him after this knowingly, willfully, and despitefully to trample upon the blood of Christ shed on the Cross, and to count it an unholy thing, or no better than the blood of another man, and rather to venture his soul any other way than to be saved by this precious blood. And this must be done, I say, after some light (Heb 6:4,5) despitefully (Heb 10:29) knowingly (2 Peter 2:21) and willfully (Heb 10:26 compared with verse 29) and that not in a hurry and sudden fit, as Peter’s was, but with some time beforehand to pause upon it first, with Judas; and also with a continued resolution never to turn or be converted again; “for it is impossible to renew such again to repentance,” they are so resolved and so desperate (Heb 6).

Quest. And how sayest thou now? Didst thou ever, after thou hadst received some blessed light from Christ, willfully, despitefully, and knowingly stamp or trample the blood of the Man Christ Jesus under thy feet? and art thou for ever resolved so to do?

Answ. O no; I would not do that willfully, despitefully, and knowingly, not for all the world.

Inquiry. But yet I must tell you, now you put me in mind of it, surely sometimes I have most horrible blasphemous thoughts in me against God, Christ, and the Spirit. May not these be that sin I trow?

Answ. Dost thou delight in them? Are they such things as thou takest pleasure in?

Reply. O no; neither would I do it for a thousand worlds. O, methinks they make me sometimes tremble to think of them. But how and if I should delight in them before I am aware?

Answ. Beg of God for strength against them, and if at any time thou findest thy wicked heart to give way in the least thereto, for that is likely enough, and though thou find it may on a sudden give way to that Hell-bred wickedness that is in it, yet do not despair, forasmuch as Christ hath said, “All manner of sins and blasphemies shall be forgiven to the sons of men. And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man,” that is Christ, as he may do with Peter, through temptation, yet upon repentance, “it shall be forgiven him” (Matt 12:31, 32).

Object. But I thought it might have been committed all on a sudden, either by some blasphemous thought, or else by committing some other horrible sin.

Answ. For certain, this sin and the commission of it doth lie in a knowing, willful, malicious, or despiteful, together with a final trampling the blood of sweet Jesus under foot (Heb 10).

Object. But it seems to be rather a resisting of the Spirit, and the motions thereof, than this which you say; for, first, its proper title is the sin against the Holy Ghost; and again, “They have done despite unto the Spirit of grace”; so that it rather seems to be, I say, that a resisting of the Spirit, and the movings thereof, is that sin.

Answ. First. For certain, the sin is committed by them that do as before I have said—that is, by a final, knowing, willful, malicious trampling under foot the blood of Christ, which was shed on Mount Calvary when Jesus was there crucified. And though it be called the sin against the Spirit, yet as I said before, every sin against the Spirit is not that; for if it were, then every sin against the light and convictions of the Spirit would be unpardonable; but that is an evident untruth, for these reasons— First, Because there be those who have sinned against the movings of the Spirit, and that knowingly too, and yet did not commit that sin; as Jonah, who when God had expressly by His Spirit bid him go to Nineveh, he runs thereupon quite another way. Secondly, Because the very people that have sinned against the movings of the Spirit are yet, if they do return, received to mercy. Witness also Jonah, who though he had sinned against the movings of the Spirit of the Lord in doing contrary thereunto, “yet when he called,” as he saith, “to the Lord,” out of the belly of Hell, “the LORD heard him, and gave him deliverance, and set him again about his work.” Read the whole story of that Prophet. But,

Answ. Second. I shall show you that it must needs be willfully, knowingly, and a malicious rejecting of the Man Christ Jesus as the Saviour—that is, counting His blood, His righteousness, His intercession in His own Person, for he that rejects one rejects all, to be of no value as to salvation; I say, this I shall show you is the unpardonable sin, and then afterwards in brief show you why it is called the sin against the Holy Ghost.

[Must be a willfully and maliciously rejecting the Saviour.]

1. That man that doth reject, as aforesaid, the blood, death, righteousness, resurrection, ascension, and intercession of the Man Christ, doth reject that sacrifice, that blood, that righteousness, that victory, that rest, that God alone hath appointed for salvation—”Behold the Lamb,” or sacrifice, “of God” (John 1:29). “We have redemption through His blood” (Eph 1:7). That I may “be found in Him”—to wit, in Christ’s righteousness, with Christ’s own personal obedience to His Father’s will (Phil 3:7-10). By His resurrection comes justification (Rom 4:25). His intercession now in His own Person in the Heavens, now absent from His saints, is the cause of the saints’ perseverance (Rom 8:33-39).

2. They that reject this sacrifice, and the merits of this Christ, which He by Himself hath brought in for sinners, have rejected Him through whom alone all the promises of the New Testament, together with all the mercy discovered thereby, doth come unto poor creatures—”For all the promises of God in Him are yea, and in Him amen, unto the glory of God” (2 Cor 1:20). And all spiritual blessings are made over to us through Him; that is, through and in this Man, which is Christ, we have all our spiritual, heavenly, and eternal mercies (Eph 1:3,4).

3. He that doth knowingly, willfully, and despitefully reject this Man for salvation doth sin the unpardonable sin, because there is never another sacrifice to be offered. “There is no more offering for sin.—There remaineth no more sacrifice for sin,” (Heb 10:18-26); namely, than the offering of the body of Jesus Christ a sacrifice once for all (Heb 10:10,14, compared with 18, 26). No; but they that shall, after light and clear conviction, reject the first offering of His body for salvation, do crucify Him the second time, which irrecoverably merits their own damnation—”For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, and have tasted the good Word of God, and the powers of the world to come, if they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put Him to an open shame” (Heb 6:4-6). “If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance.” And why so? Seeing, saith the Apostle, they do crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and do put Him to an open shame. O, then, how miserably hath the devil deceived some, in that he hath got them to reject the merits of the first offering of the body of Christ, which was for salvation, and got them to trust in a fresh crucifying of Christ, which unavoidably brings their speedy damnation.

4. They that do reject this Man, as aforesaid, do sin the unpardonable sin, because in rejecting Him they do make way for the justice of God to break out upon them, and to handle them as it shall find them; which will be, in the first place, sinners against the first covenant; and also despising of, even the life, and glory, and consolations, pardon, grace, and love, that is discovered in the second covenant, forasmuch as they reject the Mediator and priest of the same, which is the Man Jesus. And the man that doth so, I would fain see how his sins should be pardoned, and his soul saved, seeing the means, which is the Son of Man, the Son of Mary, and His merits, are rejected; “for,” saith He, “if you believe not that I am He, you shall,” mark, “you shall,” do what you can; “you shall,” appear where you can; “you shall,” follow Moses’ law, or any holiness whatsoever, “ye shall die in your sins” (John 8:24). So that, I say, the sin that is called the unpardonable sin is a knowing, willful, and despiteful rejecting of the sacrificing of the Son of Man the first time for sin.

[Why it is called the sin against the Holy Ghost.]

And now to show you why it is called the sin against the Holy Ghost, as in these Scriptures, (Matt 12; Heb 10; Mark 3).

1. Because they sin against the manifest light of the Spirit, as I said before; it is a sin against the light of the Spirit—that is, they have been formerly enlightened into the nature of the Gospel and the merits of the Man Christ, and His blood, righteousness, intercession, etc.; and also professed and confessed the same, with some life and comfort in and through the profession of Him; yet now against all that light, maliciously, and with despite to all their former profession, turn their backs and trample upon the same.

2. It is called the sin against the Holy Ghost because such a person doth, as I may say, lay violent hands on it; one that sets himself in opposition to, and is resolved to resist all the motions that do come in from the Spirit to persuade the contrary. For I do verily believe that men, in this very rejecting of the Son of God, after some knowledge of Him, especially at their first resisting and refusing of Him, they have certain motions of the Spirit of God to dissuade them from so great a soul-damning act. But they, being filled with an overpowering measure of the spirit of the devil, do despite unto these convictions and motions by studying and contriving how they may answer them, and get from under the convincing nature of them, and therefore it is called a doing despite unto the Spirit of Grace (Heb 10:29). And so,

3. In that they do reject the beseeching of the Spirit, and all its gentle entreatings of the soul to tarry still in the same doctrine.

4. In that they do reject the very testimony of the Prophets and Apostles with Christ Himself; I say, their testimony, through the Spirit, of the power, virtue, sufficiency, and prevalency of the blood, sacrifice, death, resurrection, ascension, and intercession of the Man Christ Jesus, of which the Scriptures are full both in the Old and New Testament, as the Apostle saith, for all the Prophets from Samuel, with them that follow after, have showed of these days—that is, in which Christ should be a sacrifice for sin (Acts 3:24, compared with verses 6, 13-15, 18, 26). Again, saith, he, “He therefore that despiseth not man, but God; who hath also given unto us His Holy Spirit” (1 Thessalonians 4:8); that is, he rejecteth or despiseth the very testimony of the Spirit.

5. It is called the sin against the Holy Ghost, because he that doth reject and disown the doctrine of salvation by the Man Christ Jesus, through believing in Him, doth despise, resist, and reject the wisdom of the Spirit; for the wisdom of God’s Spirit did never more appear than its finding out a way for sinners to be reconciled to God by the death of this Man; and therefore Christ, as He is a sacrifice, is called the wisdom of God. And again, when it doth reveal the Lord Jesus it is called the “Spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him” (Eph 1:17).

Object. But, some may say, the slighting or rejecting of the Son of Man, Jesus of Nazareth, the Son of Mary, cannot be the sin that is unpardonable, as is clear from that Scripture in Matthew 12:32, where He Himself saith, “Whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of Man, it shall be forgiven him; but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come.” Now by this it is clear that the sin that is unpardonable is one thing, and the sin against the Son of Man another; that sin that is against the Son of Man is pardonable; but if that was the sin against the Holy Ghost, it would not be pardonable; therefore the sin against the Son of Man is not the sin against the Holy Ghost, the unpardonable sin.

Answ. 1. I do know full well that there are several persons that have been pardoned, yet have sinned against the Son of Man, and that have for a time rejected Him, as Paul (1 Tim 1:13, 14) also the Jews (Acts 2:36,37). But there was an ignorant rejecting of Him, without the enlightening, and taste, and feeling of the power of the things of God, made mention in Hebrews 6:3-6. 2. There is and hath been a higher manner of sinning against the Son of Man, which also hath been, and is still, pardonable; as in the case of Peter, who in a violent temptation, in a mighty hurry, upon a sudden denied Him, and that after the revelation of the Spirit of God from Heaven to him, that He, Jesus, was the Son of God (Matt 16:16-18). This also is pardonable, if there be a coming up again to repentance. O, rich grace! O, wonderful grace! that God should be so full of love to His poor creatures, that though they do sin against the Son of God, either through ignorance, or some sudden violent charge breaking loose from Hell upon them, but yet take if for certain that if a man do slight and reject the Son of God and the Spirit in that manner as I have before hinted—that is, for a man after some great measure of the enlightening by the Spirit of God, and some profession of Jesus Christ to be the Saviour, and His blood that was shed on the mount without the gates of Jerusalem to be the Atonement;

I say, he that shall after this knowingly, willfully, and out of malice and despite reject, speak against, and trample that doctrine under foot, resolving for ever so to do, and if he there continue, I will pawn my soul upon it, he hath sinned the unpardonable sin, and shall never be forgiven, neither in this world, nor in the world to come; or else these Scriptures that testify the truth of this must be scrabbled out, and must be looked upon for mere fables, which are these following—”For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world, through the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ,” which is the Son of Man (Matt 16:13) “and are again entangled therein, and overcome,” which must be by denying this Lord that brought them (2 Peter 2:1) “the latter end is worse with them than the beginning,” (2 Peter 2:20). For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift—and have tasted the good Word of God, and the powers of the world to come; if they shall fall away,” not only fall, but fall away, that is, finally (Heb 10:29) “it is impossible to renew them again unto repentance”; and the reason is rendered, “seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God,” which is the Son of Man, “afresh, and put Him to an open shame” (Heb 6:4-6).

Now if you would further know what it is to crucify the Son of God afresh, it is this—for to undervalue and trample under foot the merits and virtue of His blood for remission of sins, as is clearly manifested in Hebrews 10:26-28, where it is said, “For if we sin willfully after that we have received the knowledge of the Truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries. He that despised Moses’ law died without mercy,—of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God,” there is the second crucifying of Christ, which the Quakers think to be saved by, “and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing,”— and then followeth—”and hath done despite unto the Spirit of Grace?” (verse 29). All that Paul had to keep him from this sin was, his ignorance in persecuting the Man and merits of Jesus Christ (Acts 9). But I obtained mercy, saith he, because I did it ignorantly (1 Tim 1:13).

And Peter, though he did deny Him knowingly, yet he did it unwillingly, and in a sudden and fearful temptation, and so by the intercession of Jesus escaped that danger. So, I say, they that commit this sin, they do it after light, knowingly, willfully, and despitefully, and in the open view of the whole world reject the Son of Man for being their Lord and Saviour, and in that it is called the sin against the Holy Ghost. It is a name most fit for this sin to be called the sin against the Holy Ghost, for these reasons but now laid down; for this sin is immediately committed against the motions, and convictions, and light of the Holy Spirit of God that makes it its business to hand forth and manifest the truth and reality of the merits and virtues of the Lord Jesus, the Son of Man. And therefore beware, Ranters and Quakers, for I am sure you are the nearest that sin by profession, which is, indeed, the right committing of it, of any persons that I do know at this day under the whole heavens, forasmuch as you will not venture the salvation of your souls on the blood shed on Mount Calvary, out of the side of that Man that was offered up in sacrifice for all that did believe (Luke 23:33). In that His offering up of His body at that time, either before He offered it, or that have, do, or shall believe on it for the time since, together with that time that He offered it, though formerly you did profess that salvation was wrought out that way, by that sacrifice then offered, and also seemed to have some comfort thereby; yea, insomuch that some of you declared the same in the hearing of many, professing yourselves to be believers of the same.

O, therefore, it is sad for you that were once enlightened, and have tasted these good things, and yet, notwithstanding all your profession, you are now turned from the simplicity that is in Christ to another doctrine, which will be your destruction, if you continue in it; for without blood there is no remission (Heb 9:22).

Many other reasons might be given, but that I would not be too tedious; yet I would put in this caution, that if there be any souls that be but now willing to venture their salvation upon the merits of a naked Jesus, I do verily for the present believe they have not sinned that sin, because there is still a promise holds forth itself to such a soul where Christ saith, “Him that cometh to me, I will in nowise,” for nothing that he hath done, “cast him out” (John 6:37). That promise is worth to be written in letters of gold.

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Self-righteous John Bunyan meets “three or four poor women talking about the things of God”.

January 14, 2011 Comments off

35. Another thing was my dancing; I was a full year before I could quite leave that; but all this while, when I thought I kept this or that commandment, or did, by word or deed, anything that I thought was good, I had great peace in my conscience; and should think with myself, God cannot choose but be now pleased with me; yea, to relate it in mine own way, I thought no man in England could please God better than I.

36. But, poor wretch as I was, I was all this while ignorant of Jesus Christ, and going about to establish my own righteousness; and had perished therein, had not God, in mercy, showed me more of my state of nature.

37. But upon a day, the good providence of God did cast me to Bedford, to work on my calling; and in one of the streets of that town, I came where there were three or four poor women sitting at a door in the sun, and talking about the things of God; and being now willing to hear them discourse, I drew near to hear what they said, for I was now a brisk talker also myself in the matters of religion, but now I may say, I heard, but I understood not; for they were far above, out of my reach, for their talk was about a new birth, the work of God on their hearts, also how they were convinced of their miserable state by nature; they talked how God had visited their souls with His love in the Lord Jesus, and with what words and promises they had been refreshed, comforted, and supported against the temptations of the devil. Moreover, they reasoned of the suggestions and temptations of Satan in particular; and told to each other by which they had been afflicted, and how they were borne up under his assaults. They also discoursed of their own wretchedness of heart, of their unbelief; and did contemn, slight, and abhor their own righteousness, as filthy and insufficient to do them any good.

38. And methought they spake as if joy did make them speak; they spake with such pleasantness of Scripture language, and with such appearance of grace in all they said, that they were to me as if they had found a new world, as if they were people that dwelt alone, and were not to be reckoned among their neighbours (Num. 23.9).

39. At this I felt my own heart began to shake, as mistrusting my condition to be  naught; for I saw that in all my thoughts about religion and salvation, the new birth did never enter into my mind, neither knew I the comfort of the Word and promise, nor the deceitfulness and treachery of my own wicked heart. As for secret thoughts, I took no notice of them; neither did I understand what Satan’s temptations were, nor how they were to be withstood and resisted, etc.

40. Thus, therefore, when I had heard and considered what they said, I left them, and went about my employment again, but their talk and discourse went with me; also my heart would tarry with them, for I was greatly affected with their words, both because by them I was convinced that I *wanted the true tokens of a truly godly man, and also because by them I was convinced of the happy and blessed condition of him that was such a one.

41. Therefore I should often make it my business to be going again and again into the company of these poor people, for I could not stay away; and the more I went amongst them, the more I did question my condition; and as I still do remember, presently I found two things within me, at which I did sometimes marvel, especially considering what a blind, ignorant, sordid, and ungodly wretch but just before I was; the one was a great softness and tenderness of heart, which caused me to fall under the conviction of what by Scripture they asserted; and the other was a great bending in my mind to a continual meditating on it, and on all other good things which at any time I heard or read of.

42. By these things my mind was now so turned, that it lay like a horse leech at the vein, still crying out, Give, give (Prov. 30.15); yea, it was so fixed on eternity, and on the things about the kingdom of heaven, that is, so far as I knew, though as yet, God knows, I knew but little; that neither pleasures nor profits, nor persuasions, nor threats, could loosen it, or make it let go his hold; and though I may speak it with shame, yet it is in very deed a certain truth, it would then have been as difficult for me to have taken my mind from heaven to earth, as I have found it often since to get it again from earth to heaven.

* “want” = “lack”

Source: Grace abounding to the chief of sinners

Preface to “Grace abounding to the chief of sinners” – John Bunyan

January 14, 2011 Comments off

A PREFACE OR BRIEF ACCOUNT OF THE PUBLISHING OF THIS WORK WRITTEN BY THE AUTHOR THEREOF, AND DEDICATED TO THOSE WHOM GOD HATH COUNTED HIM WORTHY TO BEGET TO FAITH, BY HIS MINISTRY IN THE WORD

CHILDREN, grace be with you, Amen. I being taken from you in presence, and so tied up, that I cannot perform that duty that from God doth lie upon me to youward, for your further edifying and building up in faith and holiness, etc., yet that you may see my soul hath fatherly care and desire after your spiritual and everlasting welfare; I now once again, as before, from the top of Shenir and Hermon, so now from the lions’ dens, from the mountains of the leopards (S.of Sol. 4.8), do look yet after you all, greatly longing to see your safe arrival into the desired haven.

I thank God upon every remembrance of you; and rejoice, even while I stick between the teeth of the lions in the wilderness, at the grace, and mercy, and knowledge of Christ our Saviour, which God hath bestowed upon you, with abundance of faith and love. Your hungerings and thirstings also after further acquaintance with the Father, in His Son; your tenderness of heart, your trembling at sin, your sober and holy deportment also, before both God and men, is great refreshment to me; ‘For ye are my glory and joy’ (1 Thess. 2.20).

I have sent you here enclosed, a drop of that honey, that I have taken out of the carcase of a lion ( Judg. 14.5-9). I have eaten thereof myself also, and am much refreshed thereby. (Temptations, when we meet them at first, are as the lion that roared upon Samson; but if we overcome them, the next time we see them, we shall find a nest of honey within them.) The Philistines understand me not. It is something of a relation of the work of God upon my own soul, even from the very first, till now; wherein you may perceive my castings down, and raisings up; for he woundeth, and his hands make whole. It is written in the Scripture ( Isa. 38.19), ‘The father to the children shall make known the truth of God.’ Yea, it was for this reason I lay so long at Sinai ( Deut. 4.10, 11), to see the fire, and the cloud, and the darkness, that I might fear the Lord all the days of my life upon earth, and tell of his wondrous works to my children ( Ps. 78.3-5).

Moses ( Num. 33.1, 2) writ of the journeyings of the children of Israel, from Egypt to the land of Canaan; and commanded also, that they did remember their forty years’ travel in the wilderness. ‘Thou shalt remember all the way which the Lord thy God led thee these forty years in the wilderness, to humble thee, and to prove thee, to know what was in thine heart, whether thou wouldest keep his commandments, or no’ ( Deut. 8.2). Wherefore this I have endeavoured to do; and not only so, but to publish it also; that, if God will, others may be put in remembrance of what He hath done for their souls, by reading His work upon me.

It is profitable for Christians to be often calling to mind the very beginnings of grace with their souls. ‘It is a night to be much observed unto the Lord for bringing them out from the land of Egypt: this is that night of the Lord to be observed of all the children of Israel in their generations’ ( Ex. 12.42). ‘O my God,’ saith David ( Ps. 42.6), ‘my soul is cast down within me; therefore will I remember thee from the land of Jordan, and of the Hermonites, from the hill Mizar.’ He remembered also the lion and the bear, when he went to fight with the giant of Gath ( I Sam. 17.36, 37).

It was Paul’s accustomed manner ( Acts 22), and that when tried for his life (Acts 24), ever to open, before his judges, the manner of his conversion: he would think of that day, and that hour, in the which he first did meet with grace; for he found it support unto him. When God had brought the children of Israel through the Red Sea, far into the wilderness, yet they must turn quite about thither again, to remember the drowning of their enemies there ( Num.14.25). For though they sang His praise before, yet ‘they soon forgat his works’ ( Ps. 106.11-13).

In this discourse of mine you may see much; much, I say, of the grace of God towards me. I thank God I can count it much, for it was above my sins and Satan’s temptations too. I can remember my fears, and doubts, and sad months with comfort; they are as the head of Goliath in my hand. There was nothing to David like Goliath’s sword, even that sword that should have been sheathed in his bowels; for the very sight and remembrance of that did preach forth God’s deliverance to him. Oh, the remembrance of my great sins, of my great temptations, and of my great fears of perishing for ever! They bring afresh into my mind the remembrance of my great help, my great support from heaven, and the great grace that God extended to such a wretch as I.

My dear children, call to mind the former days, and the years of ancient times: remember also your songs in the night; and commune with your own heart ( Ps. 77.5-12). Yea, look diligently, and leave no corner therein unsearched, for there is treasure hid, even the treasure of your first and second experience of the grace of God toward you. Remember, I say, the word that first laid hold upon you; remember your terrors of conscience, and fear of death and hell; remember also your tears and prayers to God; yea, how you sighed under every hedge for mercy. Have you never a hill Mizar to remember? Have you forgot the close, the milk house, the stable, the barn, and the like, where God did visit your soul? Remember also the Word-the Word, I say, upon which the Lord hath caused you to hope. If you have sinned against light; if you are tempted to blaspheme; if you are down in despair; if you think God fights against you; or if heaven is hid from your eyes, remember it was thus with your father, but out of them all the Lord delivered me.

I could have enlarged much in this my discourse, of my temptations and troubles for sin; as also of the merciful kindness and working of God with my soul. I could also have stepped into a style much higher than this in which I have here discoursed, and could have adorned all things more than here I have seemed to do, but I dare not. God did not play in convincing of me, the devil did not play in tempting of me, neither did I play when I sunk as into a bottomless pit, when the pangs of hell caught hold upon me; wherefore I may not play in my relating of them, but be plain and simple, and lay down the thing as it was. He that liketh it, let him receive it; and he that does not, let him produce a better. Farewell.

My dear children, the milk and honey is beyond this wilderness, God be merciful to you, and grant that you be not slothful to go in to possess the land.

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Seven thoughts of John Bunyan – conclusion to “Grace abounding to the chief of sinners”

August 15, 2009 Comments off

The conclusion

1. Of all the temptations that ever I met with in my life, to question the being of God, and the truth of His gospel, is the worst, and the worst to be borne; when this temptation comes, it takes away my girdle from me, and removeth the foundations from under me. Oh, I have often thought of that word, ‘Have your loins girt about with truth’; and of that, ‘When the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?’

2. Sometimes, when, after sin committed, I have looked for sore chastisement from the hand of God, the very next that I have had from Him hath been the discovery of His grace. Sometimes, when I have been comforted, I have called myself a fool for my so sinking under trouble. And then, again, when I have been cast down, I thought I was not wise to give such way to comfort. With such strength and weight have both these been upon me.

3. I have wondered much at this one thing, that though God doth visit my soul with never so blessed a discovery of Himself, yet I have found again, that such hours have attended me afterwards, that I have been in my spirit so filled with darkness, that I could not so much as once conceive what that God and that comfort was with which I have been refreshed.

4. I have sometimes seen more in a line of the Bible than I could well tell how to stand under, and yet at another time the whole Bible hath been to me as dry as a stick; or rather, my heart hath been so dead and dry unto it, that I could not conceive the least drachm of refreshment, though I have looked it all over.

5. Of all tears, they are the best that are made by the blood of Christ; and of all joy, that is the sweetest that is mixed with mourning over Christ. Oh! it is a goodly thing to be on our knees, with Christ in our arms, before God. I hope I know something of these things.

6. I find to this day seven abominations in my heart: (1) Inclinings to unbelief. (2) Suddenly to forget the love and mercy that Christ manifesteth. (3) A leaning to the works of the law. (4) Wanderings and coldness in prayer. (5) To forget to watch for that I pray for. (6) Apt to murmur because I have no more, and yet ready to abuse what I have. (7) I can do none of those things which God commands me, but my corruptions will thrust in themselves, ‘When I would do good, evil is present with me.’

7. These things I continually see and feel, and am afflicted and oppressed with; yet the wisdom of God doth order them for my good. (1) They make me abhor myself. (2) They keep me from trusting my heart. (3) They convince me of the insufficiency of all inherent righteousness. (4) They show me the necessity of flying to Jesus. (5) They press me to pray unto God. (6) They show me the need I have to watch and be sober. (7) And provoke me to look to God, through Christ, to help me, and carry me through this world. Amen.

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