The Works of John Bunyan - Volume 1

000 Title Page



001 Volume 1








001.1 Title Page to Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners




Whereunto is added a brief relation of his call to the work of the ministry, of his temptations therein, as also what he hath met with in prison. All which was written by his own hand there, and now published for the support of the weak and tempted people of God.

"Come and hear, all ye that fear God, and I will declare what he hath done for my soul."—Ps 66:16

London: Printed by George Larkin, 1666

This title page was afterwards altered, and instead of what follows the first line, he inserted,

Or a brief and faithful relation of the exceeding mercy of God in Christ to his poor servant, John Bunyan; namely, in his taking of him out of the dunghill, and converting of him to the faith of his blessed Son, Jesus Christ. Here is also particularly showed, what sight of, and what trouble he had for sin; and also what various temptations he hath met with, and how God hath carried him through them.

Corrected and much enlarged now by the Author, for the benefit of the tempted and dejected Christian.


The great utility of remarkable accounts of the ways of God in bringing his sheep into the fold, must be admitted by all. The Bible abounds with these manifestations of Divine grace from the gentle voice that called Samuel, even unto the thunder which penetrated the soul of one, who followed the church with continued malignity, calling unto him, "Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?"—a voice so terrible, and accompanied by such a flood of light, as to strike the persecutor to the earth, and for a season to deprive him of sight.

The 'Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners' is doubly interesting, as it unfolds to us not only the return of a notorious prodigal, but a wondrous system of education, by which a chosen man was fitted for a wondrous work; heavenly and spiritual learning, which could not have been obtained in all the schools and universities in the world. It enabled a poor, vile, unlettered rebel—a blasphemous travelling tinker, to become a most eminent preacher; one whose native powers, sanctified by harrowing but hallowing feelings, attracted the deep attention of the most learned and pious of his contemporaries, while it carried conviction to the most impious and profane. Even beyond all this, his spiritual acquirements fitted him, without scholastic learning, to become the most popular, the most attractive, the most useful of English authors. His works increase remarkably in popularity. As time rolls on, they are still read with deeper and deeper interest, while his bodily presence and labours mingle in the records of the events of bygone ages.

Bunyan's account of his singular trials and temptations may have excited alarm in the minds of some young Christians lest they should be in an unconverted state, because they have not been called to pass through a similar mode of training. Pray recollect, my dear young Christian, that all are not called to such important public labours as Bunyan, or Whitfield, or Wesley. All the members of the Christian family are trained to fit them for their respective positions in the church of Christ. It is a pleasant and profitable exercise to look back to the day of our espousals, and trace the operations of Divine grace in digging us from the hole of the pit; but the important question with us all should be, not so much HOW we became enlightened, but NOW do we love Christ? Now do we regret our want of greater conformity to his image? If we can honestly answer these questions in the affirmative, we are believers, and can claim our part in that precious promise, "Whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die.”Spiritual life is ours, and eternal life is essentially connected with it, and must be our portion, without an inquiry into the means by which we were called, whether by the thunders and lighting of Sinai, as Paul was smitten, or by the "still small voice”(Ac 9:3-4; 1Ki 19:12; Job 4:16-17).

The value of such a narrative to a terror-stricken prodigal is vividly shown by Bunyan, in his 'Jerusalem Sinner Saved,' in one of those colloquial pieces of composition in which he eminently shone. 'Satan is loath to part with a great sinner. "What, my true servant,”quoth he, "my old servant, wilt thou forsake me now? Having so often sold thyself to me to work wickedness, wilt thou forsake me now? Thou horrible wretch, dost not know, that thou hast sinned thyself beyond the reach of grace, and dost think to find mercy now? Art not thou a murderer, a thief, a harlot, a witch, a sinner of the greatest size, and dost thou look for mercy now? Dost thou think that Christ will foul his fingers with thee? It is enough to make angels blush, saith Satan, to see so vile a one knock at heaven-gates for mercy, and wilt thou be so abominably bold to do it?”Thus Satan dealt with me, says the great sinner, when at first I came to Jesus Christ. And what did you reply? Saith the tempted. Why, I granted the whole charge to be true, says the other. And what, did you despair, or how? No, saith he, I said, I am Magdalene, I am Zacheus, I am the thief, I am the harlot, I am the publican, I am the prodigal, and one of Christ's murderers; yea, worse than any of these; and yet God was so far off from rejecting of me, as I found afterwards, that there was music and dancing in his house for me, and for joy that I was come home unto him. 0 blessed be God for grace, says the other, for then I hope there is favour for me.'

The 'Grace Abounding' is a part of Bunyan's prison meditations, and strongly reminds us of the conversation between Christian and Hopeful on the enchanted ground.

`Christian. Now then, to prevent drowsiness in this place, let us fall into good discourse.

`Hopeful. With all my heart.

`Christian. Where shall we begin?

`Hopeful. Where God began with us.'

To prevent drowsiness, to beguile the time, he looks back to his past experience, and the prison became his Patmos—the gate of heaven—a Bethel, in which his time was occupied in writing for the benefit of his fellow-Christians. He looks back upon all the wondrous way through which the Lord had led him from the City of Destruction to Mount Zion. While writing his own spiritual pilgrimage, his great work broke upon his imagination.

`And thus it was: I writing of the way,
And race of saints, in this our gospel day,
Fell suddenly into an allegory
About their journey, and the way to glory.'

`As you read the "Grace Abounding,”you are ready to say at every step, here is the future author of the "Pilgrim's Progress.”It is as if you stood beside some great sculptor, and watched every movement of his chisel, having seen his design; so that at every blow some new trait of beauty in the future statue comes clearly into view.'1

1. Dr. Cheever. 

A great difference of opinion has been expressed by learned men as to whether Bunyan's account of himself is to be understood literally, as it respects his bad conduct before his conversion, or whether he views himself through a glass, by which his evil habits are magnified. No one can doubt his perfect honesty. He plainly narrates his bad, as well as his redeeming qualities; nor does his narrative appear to be exaggerated. He was the son of a travelling tinker, probably a gipsy, 'the meanest and most despised rank in the land'; when, alarmed at his sins, recollection that the Israelites were once the chosen people of God, he asked his father, whether he was of that race; as if he thought that his family were of some peculiar people, and it was easy for such a lad to blend the Egyptians with the Israelitish race. When he was defamed, his slanderers called him a witch, or fortune teller, a Jesuit, a highwayman, or the like. Brought up to his father's trade, with his evil habits unchecked, he became a very depraved lad; and when he states his sad character, it is with a solemn pledge that his account is strictly true. Probably, with a view to the full gratification of his sinful propensities, he entered the army, and served among the profligate soldiers of Charles I at the siege of Leicester.2

2 Leicester was only besieged by the royal army, who took it, and cruelly treated the inhabitants; upon the republicans appearing before it, the city surrendered at once without a siege.—Ed.

During this time, he was ill at ease; he felt convinced of sin, or righteousness, and of judgment, without a hope of mercy. Hence his misery and internal conflicts, perhaps the most remarkable of any upon record. His own Giant Despair seized him with an iron grasp. He felt himself surrounded by invisible beings, and in the immediate presence of a holy God. By day, he was bewildered with tormenting visions, and by night alarming dreams presented themselves to him upon his bed. The fictitious appeared to his terrified imagination realities. His excited spirit became familiar with shapeless forms and fearful powers. The sorrows of death, and the pains of hell, got hold upon him. His internal conflict was truly horrible, as one who thought himself under the power of demons; they whispered in his ears—pulled his clothes; he madly fought, striking at imaginary shades with his hands, and stamping with his feet at the destroyer. Thoughts of the unpardonable sin beset him, his powerful bodily frame became convulsed with agony, as if his breast bone would split, and he burst asunder like Judas. He possessed a most prolific mind, affording constant nourishment to this excited state of his feelings. He thought that he should be bereft of his wits; than a voice rushed in at the window like the noise of wind, very pleasant, and produced a great calm in his soul. His intervals of ease, however, were short; the recollection of his sins, and a fear that he had sold his Saviour, haunted his affrighted spirit. His soul became so tormented, as to suggest to his ideas the suffering of a malefactor broken upon the wheel. The climax of these terrors is narrated at paragraph No. 187. 'Thus was I always sinking, whatever I did think or do. So one day I walked to a neighbouring town, and sat down upon a settle in the street, and fell into a very deep pause about the most fearful state my sin had brought me to; and, after long musing, I lifted up my head, but methought I saw as if the sun that shineth in the heavens did grudge to give light; and as if the very stones in the street, and tiles upon the houses, did bend themselves against me; methought that they all combined together, to banish me out of the world; I was abhorred of them, and unfit to dwell among them, or be a partaker of their benefits, because I had sinned against the Saviour.' In this deep abyss of misery, THAT love which has heights and depths passing knowledge, laid under him the everlasting arms, and raised him from the horrible pit in miry clay, when no human powers could have reached his case. Dr. Cheever eloquently remarks, that 'it was through this valley of the shadow of death, overhung by darkness, peopled with devils, resounding with blasphemy and lamentations; and passing amidst quagmires and pitfalls, close by the very mouth of hell, that Bunyan journeyed to that bright and fruitful land of Beulah, in which he sojourned during the latter days of his pilgrimage.' The only trace which his cruel sufferings and temptations seen to have left behind them, was an affectionate compassion for those who were still in the state in which he had once been.

Young Christians, you must not imagine that all these terrors are absolute prerequisites to faith in the Saviour. God, as a sovereign, calls his children to himself by various ways. Bunyan's was a very extraordinary case, partly from his early habits—his excitable mind, at a period so calculated to fan a spark of such feelings into a flame. His extraordinary inventive faculties, softened down and hallowed by this fearful experience, became fitted for most extensive usefulness.

To eulogize this narrative, would be like `gilding refined gold'; but I cannot help remarking, among a multitude of deeply interesting passages, his observations upon that honest open avowal of Christian principles, which brought down severe persecution upon him. They excite our tenderest sympathy; his being dragged from his home and wife and children, he says, `hath oft been to me, as the pulling my flesh from my bones; my poor blind child, what sorrow art thou like to have for thy portion in this world! thou must be beaten, must beg, suffer hunger, cold, nakedness, and a thousand calamities, though I cannot now endure the wind should blow upon thee. 0, I saw I was as a man who was pulling down his house upon the head of his wife and children; yet, recollecting myself, thought I, I must venture you all with God.' How awful must be the state of the wretched persecutor, who occasions such sufferings to the children of the most high God!

In this edition, the greatest care has been taken to preserve the exact words of the author, as he first published them; where he altered or added to the text in subsequent editions, it is marked with an inverted comma, or inserted in the notes. Obsolete words and customs are explained; the numbering of his sections is continued, in addition to which, it is divided into chapters for family reading, upon the plan of the late Rev. J. Ivimey; double inverted commas denote quotations of Scripture.

The reader is strongly pressed to keep in his recollection the peculiar use made of the word should, by the author in this narrative. It is from the Saxon scealan, to be obliged. Thus, in the Saxon gospels (Mt 27:15), "the governor should release unto the people a prisoner"; in our version it is, "was wont to release,”meaning that custom compelled him so to do. In Bunyan's phraseology, the word should is used in the same sense, that is, to show that, under peculiar circumstances, his feelings or position involuntarily produced a certain result. Thus, in No. 6, Troubled with the thoughts of judgment and condemnation I should tremble; and in No. 15, The father of his wife having left her two books, in these I should sometimes read; probably the only books he then had. It is remarkable, that although the Saxon language had not been spoken in Bedfordshire for many centuries, still many valuable words remained in use.

The order in which this thrilling narrative of Bunyan's religious feelings and experience is now for the first time published, is, I. Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners—his call to the ministry, and his imprisonment for refusing to attend the Church of England service. II. His Relation of the Circumstances attending his incarceration in Bedford Jail. III. The continuation of his Life to his decease, written by one of his friends, and always printed with Grace Abounding. IV. His Dying Thoughts. V. His Prison Meditations—verses which were probably sold on a broadside or sheet of paper by his children, to procure necessaries for his family.

The length of the notes may need some apology; the only one the editor can make is his veneration for John Bunyan, and his earnest desire to render this inestimable book more deeply interesting, by explaining manners, customs, and words not now in use; the note on No. 232, occupied the time of one whole day.

The errors, omissions, and additions, which existed to a most extraordinary extent through the book, have been corrected, and the text restored to its primitive beauty; among many hundred of these errors, one may suffice as a specimen; it is in Bunyan's preface, 'God did not play in convincing of me, the devil did not play in tempting of me,' this is altered in many editions to 'God did not play in tempting of me.'

Most earnestly do I hope that this republication, now for the first time, for nearly two hundred years, given in its native excellence and purity, may be attended with the Divine blessing, to the comfort of many despairing Jerusalem sinners; to the building up of the church of Christ on earth; to the extension of pure, heart-felt, genuine Christianity; and to the confusion of the persecutors. They intended, by shutting the pious pilgrim up in a dungeon, to prevent his voice from being heard to the comfort of his poor neighbours, and by which violence, his persecutors have caused his voice to burst the prison doors and walls, and to be heard over the whole world. His Pilgrim's Progress,' which was written in prison, has been, and now is, a guide to Christian pilgrims of all nations, kindreds, tribes, and people, teaching them not to rest content in any national religion, but personally to search the Scriptures, with earnest supplications to the God of mercy and truth, that they may be guided to Christ, as the Alpha and Omega of their salvation.


001.2 Preface



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 Both lie upon me to youward, for your further edifying and building up in faith and holiness, &c., 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 (Song 4:8), do look yet after you all, greatly longing to see your safe arrival into the desired haven.3

3 This should be the prayer and effort of every Christian for his brethren and sisters in Christ, and more especially of those who are called to the public ministry.—Ed.

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”(1Th 2:20).

I have sent you here enclosed, a drop of that honey, that I have taken out of the carcase of a lion (Jg 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 (De 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 (Nu 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”(De 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). "0 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 (1Sa 17:36-37).

It was Paul's accustomed manner (Ac 22), and that when tried for his life (Ac 24), even 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;4 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 (Nu 14:25). For though they sang his praise before, yet "they soon forgat his works”(Ps 106:11-13).

4 The people of God look back on the day of their espousals with holy joy and thanksgiving to the God of their mercies; and they delight in telling his goodness to others. "Come and hear, all ye that fear God, and I will declare what he hath done for my soul”(Ps 66:16).—Mason.

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 that 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 73:5-12). 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?5 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.

5 How unspeakable the mercy that our omnipresent God will hear the prayer of the heart under all circumstances, at all times, in all places. Had he limited it to certain forms, in certain buildings, read by certain men, what fearful merchandise of souls they would have made.—Ed.

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.


001.23 Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners




1. In this my relation of the merciful working of God upon my soul, it will not be amiss, if, in the first place, I do, in a few words, give you a hint of my pedigree, and manner of bringing up; that thereby the goodness and bounty of God towards me, may be the more advanced and magnified before the sons of men.

2. For my descent then, it was, as is well known by many, of a low and inconsiderable generation; my father's house being of that rank that is meanest and most despised of all the families in the land.6 Wherefore I have not here, as others, to boast of noble blood, or of a high born state, according to the flesh; though, all things considered, I magnify the heavenly Majesty, for that by this door he brought me into this world, to partake of the grace and life that is in Christ by the gospel.

6 Bunyan says very little about his parents in his treatise on 'Christian Behaviour'; he concludes his observations on the duties of a pious son to ungodly parents with this remarkable prayer, 'The Lord, if it be his will, convert OUR poor parents, that they, with us, may be the children of God.' Although this does not demonstrate that his own parents were ungodly, yet his silence as to their piety upon all occasions when speaking of them, and the fervent feeling expressed in this short prayer, inclines me to conclude that they were not pious persons in his judgment.—Ed .

3. But yet, notwithstanding the meanness and inconsiderableness of my parents, it pleased God to put it into their hearts to put me to school, to learn both to read and write; the which I also attained, according to the rate of other poor men's children;7 though, to my shame I confess, I did soon lose that little I learned, and that even almost utterly, and that long before the Lord did work his gracious work of conversion upon my soul.

7 Mr. Bunyan alludes to the poverty of his education in several of his works. Thus, in his Scriptural poems—

`I am no poet, nor a poet's son
But a mechanic, guided by no rule
But what I gained in a grammar school,
In my minority.'

And in the preface to 'The Law and Grace': 'Reader, if thou do find this book empty of fantastical expressions, and without light, vain, whimsical, scholar-like terms; thou must understand, it is because I never went to school to Aristotle or Plato, but was brought up at my father's house, in a very mean condition, among a company of poor countrymen.'—Ed.

4. As for my own natural life, for the time that I was without God in the world, it was indeed according to the course of this world, and "the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience”(Eph 2:2-3). It was my delight to be "taken captive by the devil at his will”(2Ti 2:26). Being filled with all unrighteousness: the which did also so strongly work and put forth itself, both in my heart and life, and that from a child, that I had but few equals, especially considering my years, which were tender, being few, both for cursing, swearing, lying, and blaspheming the holy name of God.

5. Yea, so settled and rooted was I in these things, that they became as a second nature to me; the which, as I also have with soberness considered since, did so offend the Lord, that even in my childhood he did scare and affright me with fearful dreams, and did terrify me with dreadful visions; for often, after I had spent this and the other day in sin, I have in my bed been greatly afflicted, while asleep, with the apprehensions of devils and wicked spirits, who still, as I then thought, laboured to draw me away with them, of which I could never be rid.

6. Also I should, at these years, be greatly afflicted and troubled with the thoughts of the day of judgment, and that both night and day, and should tremble at the thoughts of the fearful torments of hell fire; still fearing that it would be my lot to be found at last amongst those devils and hellish fiends, who are there bound down with the chains and bonds of eternal darkness, "unto the judgment of the great day.”

7. These things, I say, when I was but a child, 'but nine or ten years old,' did so distress my soul, that when in the midst of my many sports and childish vanities, amidst my vain companions, I was often much cast down and afflicted in my mind therewith, yet could I not let go my sins. Yea, I was 'also then' so overcome with despair of life and heaven, that I should often wish either that there had been no hell, or that I had been a devil— supposing they were only tormentors; that if it must needs be that I went thither, I might be rather a tormentor, than 'be' tormented myself.

8. A while after, these terrible dreams did leave me, which also I soon forgot; for my pleasures did quickly cut off the remembrance of them, as if they had never been: wherefore, with more greediness, according to the strength of nature, I did still let loose the reins to my lusts, and delighted in all transgression against the law of God: so that, until I came to the state of marriage, I was the very ringleader of all the youth that kept me company, into all manner of vice and ungodliness.8

8 I have been vile myself, but have obtained mercy; and I would have my companions in sin partake of mercy too.'—Preface to Jerusalem Sinner Saved.—Ed.

9. Yea, such prevalency had the lusts and fruits of the flesh in this poor soul of mine, that had not a miracle of precious grace prevented, I had not only perished by the stroke of eternal justice, but had also laid myself open, even to the stroke of those laws, which bring some to disgrace and open shame before the face of the world.

10. In these days, the thoughts of religion were very grievous to me; I could neither endure it myself, nor that any other should; so that, when I have seen some read in those books that concerned Christian piety, it would be as it were a prison to me. Then I said unto God, "Depart from me, for I desire not the knowledge of thy ways”(Job 21:14). I was now void of all good consideration, heaven and hell were both out of sight and mind; and as for saving and damning, they were least in my thoughts.9 0 Lord, thou knowest my life, and my ways were not hid from thee.

9 Every careless sinner, or wicked professor, carries upon his forehead the name of Infidel and Atheist, a practical unbeliever in the Bible, in the day of judgment, and in the existence of a holy God.—Ed.

11. Yet this I well remember, that though I could myself sin with the greatest delight and ease, and also take pleasure in the vileness of my companions; yet, even then, if I have at any time seen wicked things, by those who professed goodness, it would make my spirit tremble. As once, above all the rest, when I was in my height of vanity, yet hearing one to swear that was reckoned for a religious man, it had so great a stroke upon my spirit, that it made my heart to ache.

12. 'But God did not utterly leave me, but followed me still, not now with convictions, but judgments; yet such as were mixed with mercy. For once I fell into a creek of the sea, and hardly escaped drowning. Another time I fell out of a boat into Bedford river, but mercy yet preserved me alive. Besides, another time, being in the field with one of my companions, it chanced that an adder passed over the highway; so I, having a stick in my hand, struck her over the back; and having stunned her, I forced open her mouth with my stick, and plucked her sting out with my fingers; by which act, had not God been merciful unto me, I might, by my desperateness, have brought myself to mine end.'

13. 'This also have I taken notice of with thanksgiving; when I was a soldier, I, with others, were drawn out to go to such a place to besiege it; but when I was just ready to go, one of the company desired to go in my room; to which, when I had consented, he took my place; and coming to the siege, as he stood sentinel, he was shot into the head with a musket bullet, and died.'10

10 Bunyan served in the wars between Charles I and his country, but it is not known on which side. Judging from his 'delight in all transgressions against the law of God,' as he describes his conduct to have been at that time, he must have served on the king's side, as one of his drunken cavaliers. Probably this event took place when Leicester was besieged by the king's troops.—Ed.

14. 'Here, as I said, were judgments and mercy, but neither of them did awaken my soul to righteousness; wherefore I sinned still, and grew more and more rebellious against God, and careless of mine own salvation.'

15. Presently after this, I changed my condition into a married state, and my mercy was to light upon a wife whose father was counted godly.' This woman and I, though we came together as poor as poor might be, not having so much household stuff as a dish or spoon betwixt us both, yet this she had for her part, The Plain Man's Pathway to Heaven, and The Practice of Piety, which her father had left her when he died. In these two books I should sometimes read with her, wherein I also found some things that were somewhat pleasing to me; but all this while I met with no conviction. She also would be often telling of me, what a godly man her father was, and how he would reprove and correct vice, both in his house, and amongst his neighbours; what a strict and holy life he lived in his day, both in word and deed.

11 The notice of his wife's father being a godly man, and not mentioning anything of the kind with regard to his own parents, strengthens my conclusion that they were not professors of religion. This very copy of the Pathway to Heaven here noticed, with the name of Bunyan on the title, is in the Editor's possession.—Ed.

16. Wherefore these books with this relation, though they did not reach my heart, to awaken it about my sad and sinful state, yet they did beget within me some desires to religion: so that, because I knew no better, I fell in very eagerly with the religion of the times; to wit, to go to church twice a day, and that too with the foremost; and there should very devoutly, both say and sing as others did, yet retaining my wicked life; but withal, I was so overrun with a spirit of superstition, that I adored, and that with great devotion, even all things, both the high place, priest, clerk, vestment, service, and what else belonging to the church; counting all things holy that were therein contained, and especially the priest and clerk most happy, and without doubt, greatly blessed, because they were the servants, as I then thought, of God, and were principal in the holy temple, to do his work therein.

17. This conceit grew so strong in little time upon my spirit, that had I but seen a priest, though never so sordid and debauched in his life, I should find my spirit fall under him, reverence him, and knit unto him; yea, I thought for the love I did bear unto them, supposing they were the ministers of God, I could have lain down at their feet, and have been trampled upon by them; their name, their garb, and work, did so intoxicate and bewitch me.

18. After I had been thus for some considerable time, another thought came into my mind; and that was, whether we were of the Israelites, or no? For finding in the Scriptures that they were once the peculiar people of God, thought I, if I were one of this race, my soul must needs be happy.12 Now again, I found within me a great longing to be resolved about this question, but could not tell how I should. At last I asked my father of it; who told me—No, we were not. Wherefore then I fell in my spirit as to the hopes of that, and so remained.

12 Asking his father this question, looks a little as if the family had been connected with the gipsy tribe.—Ed.

19. But all this while, I was not sensible of the danger and evil of sin; I was kept from considering that sin would damn me, what religion soever I followed, unless I was found in Christ. Nay, I never thought of him, nor whether there was one, or no. Thus man, while blind, Both wander, but wearieth himself with vanity, for he knoweth not the way to the city of God (Ec 10:15).

20. But one day, amongst all the sermons our parson made, his subject was, to treat of the Sabbath-day, and of the evil of breaking that, either with labour, sports, or otherwise. Now I was, notwithstanding my religion, one that took much delight in all manner of vice, and especially that was the day that I did solace myself therewith,”wherefore I fell in my conscience under his sermon, thinking and believing that he made that sermon on purpose to show me my evil doing; and at that time I felt what guilt was, though never before, that I can remember; but then I was, for the present, greatly loaden therewith, and so went home when the sermon was ended, with a great burden upon my spirit.

 13 'The king (James, 1618) put forth an order to permit everybody, as he had before given leave in the county of Lancaster, who should go to evening prayer on the Lord's day, to divertise themselves with lawful exercises, with leaping, dancing, playing at bowls, shooting with bows and arrows, as likewise to rear May poles, and to use May games and Morris dancing; but those who refused coming to prayers were forbidden to use these sports.'—(Camden's Annals). The head of the Church of England had wondrous power thus to dispense with God's laws.—Ed.

21. This, for that instant, did 'benumb '14the sinews of my 'best' delights, and did imbitter my former pleasures to me; but behold, it lasted not, for before I had well dined, the trouble began to go off my mind, and my heart returned to its old course: but oh! How glad was I, that this trouble was gone from me, and that the fire was put out, 'that I might sin again without control!' Wherefore, when I had satisfied nature with my food, I shook the sermon out of my mind, and to my old custom of sports and gaming I returned with great delight.

14 'Did cut the sinews,' first edition; properly altered by Bunyan afterwards to 'did benumb.'

22. But the same day, as I was in the midst of a game at cat,15 and having struck it one blow from the hole, just as I was about to strike it the second time, a voice did suddenly dart from heaven into my soul, which said, Wilt thou leave thy sins and go to heaven, or have thy sins and go to hell? At this I was put to an exceeding maze; wherefore, leaving my cat upon the ground, I looked up to heaven, and was, as if I had, with the eyes of my understanding, seen the Lord Jesus looking down upon me, as being very hotly displeased with me, and as if he did severely threaten me with some grievous punishment for these and other my ungodly practices.

15 Tip cat, or cat, is an ancient English game, thus described in Strutt's Sports and Pastimes:--The game of cat is played with a cudgel. Its denomination is derived from a piece of wood, about six inches long and two thick, diminished from the middle to form a double cone. When the cat is placed on the ground, the player strikes it smartly—it matters not at which end—and it will rise with a rotatory motion high enough for him to strike it; if he misses, another player takes his place; if he hits, he calls for a number to be scored to his game; if that number is more than as many lengths of his cudgel, he is out; if not, they are scored, and he plays again.—Ed.

23. I had no sooner thus conceived in my mind, but suddenly this conclusion was fastened on my spirit, for the former hint did set my sins again before my face, that I had been a great and grievous sinner, and that it was now too too late for me to look after heaven; for Christ would not forgive me, nor pardon my transgressions. Then I fell to musing upon this also; and while I was thinking on it, and fearing lest it should be so, I felt my heart sink in despair, concluding it was too late; and therefore I resolved in my mind I would go on in sin: for, thought I, if the case be thus, my state is surely miserable; miserable if I leave my sins, and but miserable if I follow them; I can but be damned, and if I must be so, I had as good be damned for many sins, as to be damned for few.

24. Thus I stood in the midst of my play, before all that then were present; but yet I told them nothing: but I say, I having made this conclusion, I returned 'desperately' to my sport again; and I well remember, that presently this kind of despair did so possess my soul, that I was persuaded, I could never attain to other comfort than what I should get in sin; for heaven was gone already, so that on that I must not think; wherefore I found within me a great desire to take my fill of sin, still studying what sin was yet to be committed, that I might taste the sweetness of it; and I made as much haste as I could to fill my belly with its delicates, lest I should die before I had my desire; for that I feared greatly. In these things, I protest before God, I lie not, neither do I feign this sort of speech; these were really, strongly, and with all my heart, my desires; the good Lord, whose mercy is unsearchable, forgive me my transgressions.

25. And I am very confident, that this temptation of the devil is more usual amongst poor creatures than many are aware of, even to overrun their spirits with a scurvy and seared frame of heart, and benumbing of conscience; which frame, he stilly and slyly supplieth with such despair, that though not much guilt attendeth the soul, yet they continually have a secret conclusion within them, that there is no hopes for them; for they have loved sins, "therefore after them they will go”(Jer 2:25; 18:12).

26. Now therefore I went on in sin with great greediness of mind, still grudging that I could not be so satisfied with it as I would. This did continue with me about a month, or more; but one day, as I was standing at a neighbour's shop-window, and there cursing and swearing, and playing the madman, after my wonted manner, there sat within, the woman of the house, and heard me, who, though she was a very loose and ungodly wretch, yet protested that I swore and cursed at that most fearful rate, that she was made to tremble to hear me; and told me further, That I was the ungodliest fellow for swearing that ever she heard in all her life; and that I, by thus doing, was able to spoil all the youth in a whole town, if they came but in my company.

27. At this reproof I was silenced, and put to secret shame, and that too, as I thought, before the God of heaven; wherefore, while I stood there, and hanging down my head, I wished with all my heart that I might be a little child again, that my father might learn me to speak without this wicked way of swearing;16 for, thought I, I am so accustomed to it, that it is in vain for me to think of a reformation, for I thought it could never be.

16 This wish looks as if Bunyan's father had not checked him for this wicked propensity; if so, he could not have pretended to piety or religion.—Ed.

28. But how it came to pass, I know not; I did from this time forward so leave my swearing, that it was a great wonder to myself to observe it; and whereas before, I knew not how to speak unless I put an oath before, and another behind, to make my words have authority; now, I could, 'without it,' speak better, and with more pleasantness, than ever I could before. All this while I knew not Jesus Christ, neither did I leave my sports and plays.

29. But quickly after this, I fell in company with one poor man that made profession of religion; who, as I then thought, did talk pleasantly of the Scriptures, and of the matters of religion; wherefore, falling into some love and liking to what he said, I betook me to my Bible, and began to take great pleasure in reading, but especially with the historical part thereof; for, as for Paul's epistles, and Scriptures of that nature, I could not away with them, being as yet but ignorant, either of the corruptions of my nature, or of the want and worth of Jesus Christ to save me.

30. Wherefore I fell to some outward reformation, both in my words and life, and did set the commandments before me for my way to heaven; which commandments I also did strive to keep, and, as I thought, did keep them pretty well sometimes, and then I should have comfort; yet now and then should break one, and so afflict my conscience; but then I should repent, and say I was sorry for it, and promise God to do better next time, and there get help again, 'for then I thought I pleased God as well as any man in England.'

31. Thus I continued about a year; all which time our neighbours did take me to be a very godly man, a new and religious man, and did marvel much to see such a great and famous alteration in my life and manners; and, indeed, so it was, though yet I knew not Christ, nor grace, nor faith, nor hope; and, truly, as I have well seen since, had then died, my state had been most fearful; well, this, I say, continued about a twelvemonth or more.

32. 'But, I say, my neighbours were amazed at this my great conversion, from prodigious profaneness, to something like a moral life; and, truly, so they well might; for this my conversion was as great, as for Tom of Bedlam to become a sober man.17 Now, therefore, they began to praise, to commend, and to speak well of me, both to my face, and behind my back. Now, I was, as they said, become godly; now, I was become a right honest man. But, oh! When I understood that these were their words and opinions of men, it pleased me mighty well. For though, as yet, I was nothing but a poor painted hypocrite, yet I loved to be talked of as one that was truly godly. I was proud of my godliness, and, indeed, I did all I did, either to be seen of, or to be well spoken of, by man. And thus I continued for about a twelvemonth or more.'

17 'Tom of Bedlam'; a byword for an inveterate drunkard, alluding to an old interesting song describing the feelings of a poor maniac whose frenzy had been induced by intoxication, and who escaped from Bedlam.

`Poore naked Tom is very drye
A little drinke for charitye!'

It ends with this verse—

`The man in the moon drinkes claret,
Eates powder'd beef, turnip, and carret,
But a cup of old Malaga sacke
Will fire the bushe at his backe.'

Probably the tale is connected with the drummer's tune, 'Drunk or sober, go to bed Tom.'—Ed.

33. 'Now, you must know, that before this I had taken much delight in ringing, but my conscience beginning to be tender, I thought such practice was but vain, and therefore forced myself to leave it, yet my mind hankered; wherefore I should go to the steeple house, and look on it, though I durst not ring. But I thought this did not become religion neither, yet I forced myself, and would look on still; but quickly after, I began to think, How, if one of the bells should fall? Then I chose to stand under a main beam, that lay overthwart the steeple, from side to side, thinking there I might stand sure, but then I should think again, should the bell fall with a swing, it might first hit the wall, and then rebounding upon me, might kill me for all this beam. This made me stand in the steeple door; and now, thought I, I am safe enough; for, if a bell should then fall, I can slip out behind these thick walls, and so be preserved notwithstanding.'

34. 'So, after this, I would yet go to see them ring, but would not go further than the steeple door; but then it came into my head, How, if the steeple itself should fall? And this thought, it may fall for ought I know, when I stood and looked on, did continually so shake my mind, that I durst not stand at the steeple door any longer, but was forced to flee, for fear the steeple should fall upon my head.'

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,18 as if they were people that dwelt alone, and were not to be reckoned among their neighbours (Nu 23:9).

18 When the Lord, in his blessed work upon the soul, illuminated the mind, he opens to it a new world; he leads the blind by a way that they know not, crooked things become straight, rough places plain, and he never forsakes his charge.—Mason.

39. At this I felt my own heart began to shake, as mistrusting my condition to be nought; 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, &c.

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.19

19 'Their talk went with me; my heart would tarry with them'; nothing is so powerfully attractive as a community of feeling under the teaching of the Holy Spirit. Bunyan's wish to be 'tried and searched,' reminds me of one who, when alarmed for his soul's safety, earnestly prayed that he might be made increasingly wretched, until he had found safety in Jesus, and knew him, whom to know is joy unspeakable in this life, and felicity in the eternal world.—Ed.

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 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 very 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 (Prow 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.'

43. 'One thing I may not omit: There was a young man in our town, to whom my heart before was knit more than to any other, but he being a most wicked creature for cursing, and swearing, and whoring, I now shook him off, and forsook his company; but about a quarter of a year after I had left him, I met him in a certain lane, and asked him how he did; he, after his old swearing and mad way, answered, He was well. But, Harry, said I, why do you swear and curse thus? What will become of you, if you die in this condition? He answered me in a great chafe, What would the devil do for company, if it were not for such as I am?'

44. 'About this time I met with some Ranters' books, that were put forth by some of our countrymen, which books were also highly in esteem by several old professors; some of these I read, but was not able to make a judgment about them; wherefore as I read in them, and thought upon them, feeling myself unable to judge, I should betake myself to hearty prayer in this manner: 0 Lord, I am a fool, and not able to know the truth from error: Lord, leave me not to my own blindness, either to approve of, or condemn this doctrine; if it be of God, let me not despise it; if it be of the devil, let me not embrace it. Lord, I lay my soul, in this matter, only at thy foot; let me not be deceived, I humbly beseech thee. I had one religious intimate companion all this while, and that was the poor man that I spoke of before; but about this time he also turned a most devilish Ranter,20 and gave himself up to all manner of filthiness, especially uncleanness: he would also deny that there was a God, angel, or spirit; and would laugh at all exhortations to sobriety. When I laboured to rebuke his wickedness, he would laugh the more, and pretend that he had gone through all religions, and could never light on the right till now. He told me also, that in a little time I should see all professors turn to the ways of the Ranters. Wherefore, abominating those cursed principles, I left his company forthwith, and became to him as great a stranger, as I had been before a familiar.'

20 That bitter fanatic, Ross, calls the ranters 'a sort of beasts,' who practiced sin that grace might abound. Many under that name were openly profligate; they denied the sacraments, but were disowned by the Quakers. It seems, from Bunyan, that they were infatuated with some idea that the grossest sins of the flesh did not injure the sanctity of the spirit!—Ed.

45. 'Neither was this man only a temptation to me; but my calling lying in the country, I happened to light into several people's company, who, though strict in religion formerly, yet were also swept away by these Ranters. These would also talk with me of their ways, and condemn me as legal and dark; pretending that they only had attained to perfection that could do what they would, and not sin. Oh! These temptations were suitable to my flesh, I being but a young man, and my nature in its prime; but God, who had, as I hope, designed me for better things, kept me in the fear of his name, and did not suffer me to accept of such cursed principles. And blessed be God, who put it into my heart to cry to him to be kept and directed, still distrusting mine own wisdom; for I have since seen even the effect of that prayer, in his preserving me not only from ranting errors, but from those also that have sprung up since. The Bible was precious to me in those days.'

46. And now, methought, I began to look into the Bible with new eyes, and read as I never did before; and especially the epistles of the apostle Paul were sweet and pleasant to me; and, indeed, I was then never out of the Bible, either by reading or meditation; still crying out to God, that I might know the truth, and way to heaven and glory.

47. And as I went on and read, I lighted on that passage, 'To one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; and to another faith,' &c. (1Co 12:8-9). And though, as I have since seen, that by this Scripture the Holy Ghost intends, in special, things extraordinary, yet on me it did then fasten with conviction, that I did want things ordinary, even that understanding and wisdom that other Christians had. On this word I mused, and could not tell what to do, 'especially this word faith put me to it, for I could not help it, but sometimes must question, whether I had any faith or no'; for I feared that it shut me out of all the blessings that other good people had give them of God;21 but I was loath to conclude I had no faith in my soul; for if I do so, thought I, then I shall count myself a very cast-away indeed.

21 Faith comes by venturing wholly on Christ, as he is freely offered in the Word—mercy to the miserable—salvation to the lost and self-condemned. If we honour God's veracity by giving credit to his Word, he will honour that faith by giving us joy and peace in believing.—Mason.

48. No, said I with myself, though I am convinced that I am an ignorant sot, and that I want those blessed gifts of knowledge and understanding that other good people have; yet, at a venture, I will conclude I am not altogether faithless, though I know not what faith is. For it was showed me, and that too, as I have since seen, by Satan, that those who conclude themselves in a faithless state, have neither rest nor quiet in their souls; and I was loath to fall quite into despair.

49. Wherefore, by this suggestion, I was for a while made afraid to see my want of faith; but God would not suffer me thus to undo and destroy my soul, but did continually, against this my blind and sad conclusion, create still within me such suppositions, 'insomuch' that I might in this deceive myself, that I could not rest content, until I did now come to some certain knowledge, whether I had faith or no; this always running in my mind, But how if you want faith indeed? But how can you tell you have faith? 'and, besides, I saw for certain, if I had not, I was sure to perish for ever.'

50. So that though I endeavoured at the first, to look over the business of faith, yet in a little time, I better considering the matter, was willing to put myself upon the trial, whether I had faith or no. But, alas, poor wretch, so ignorant and brutish was I, that I knew to this day no more how to do it, than I know how to begin and accomplish that rare and curious piece of art, which I never yet saw not considered.

51. Wherefore, while I was thus considering, and being put to my plunge about it, for you must know, that as yet I had in this matter broken my mind to no man, only did hear and consider, the tempter came in with his delusion, That there was no way for me to know I had faith, but by trying to work some miracle; urging those Scriptures that seem to look that way, for the enforcing and strengthening his temptation. Nay, one day as I was betwixt Elstow and Bedford, the temptation was hot upon me, to try if I had faith, by doing of some miracle: which miracle at that time was this, I must say to the puddles that were in the horse pads, Be dry; and to the dry places, Be you the puddles. And truly, one time I was agoing to say so indeed; but just as I was about to speak, this thought came into my mind, But go under yonder hedge and pray first, that God would make you able. But when I had concluded to pray, this came hot upon me, That if I prayed, and came again and tried to do it, and yet did nothing notwithstanding, then be sure I had no faith, but was a cast-away and lost. Nay, thought I, if it be so, I will never try yet, but will stay a little longer.

52. So I continued at a great loss; for I thought, if they only had faith, which could do so wonderful things, then I concluded, that, for the present, I neither had it, nor yet, for time to come, were ever like to have it. Thus I was tossed betwixt the devil and my own ignorance, and so perplexed, especially at some times, that I could not tell what to do.

53. About this time, the state and happiness of these poor people at Bedford was thus, in a dream or vision, represented to me. I saw, as if they were set on the sunny side of some high mountain, there refreshing themselves with the pleasant beams of the sun, while I was shivering and shrinking in the cold, afflicted with frost, snow, and dark clouds. Methought, also, betwixt me and them, I saw a wall that did compass about this mountain; now, through this wall my soul did greatly desire to pass; concluding, that if I could, I would go even into the very midst of them, and there also comfort myself with the heat of their sun.

54. About this wall I thought myself, to go again and again, still prying as I went, to see if I could find some way or passage, by which I might enter therein; but none could I find for some time. At the last, I saw, as it were, a narrow gap, like a little doorway in the wall, through which I attempted to pass; but the passage being very strait and narrow, I made many efforts to get in, but all in vain, even until I was well nigh quite beat out, by striving to get in; at last, with great striving, methought I at first did get in my head, and after that, by a sidling striving, my shoulders, and my whole body; then was I exceeding glad, and went and sat down in the midst of them, and so was comforted with the light and heat of their sun.

55. Now, this mountain and wall, &c., was thus made out to me—the mountain signified the church of the living God; the sun that shone thereon, the comfortable shining of his merciful face on them that were therein; the wall, I thought, was the Word, that did make separation between the Christians and the world; and the gap which was in this wall, I thought, was Jesus Christ, who is the way to God the Father (Joh 14:6; Mt 7:14). But forasmuch as the passage was wonderful narrow, even so narrow, that I could not, but with great difficulty, enter in thereat, it showed me that none could enter into life, but those that were in downright earnest,22 and unless also they left this wicked world behind them; for here was only room for body and soul, but not for body and soul, and sin.23

22 'In downright earnest'; as one who is in imminent danger of drowning, or in a house on fire, eager to escape. Reader, have you ever felt thus 'in downright earnest' for salvation? Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they SHALL be filled.—Ed.

23 This is an interesting view of church fellowship; and the admission of a convert to Christian communion. See also Christiana at the Interpreter's House, and the preface to Bunyan's 'Christian Behaviour.'—Ed.

56. This resemblance abode upon my spirit many days; all which time, I saw myself in a forlorn and sad condition, but yet was provoked to a vehement hunger and desire to be one of that number that did sit in the sunshine. Now also I should pray wherever I was, whether at home or abroad, in house or field, and should also often, with lifting up of heart, sing that of the 51st Psalm (Ps 51), 0 Lord, consider my distress; for as yet I knew not where I was.

57. Neither as yet could I attain to any comfortable persuasion that I had faith in Christ; but instead of having satisfaction, here I began to find my soul to be assaulted with fresh doubts about my future happiness; especially with such as these, Whether I was elected? But how, if the day of grace should now be past and gone?

58. By these two temptations I was very much afflicted and disquieted; sometimes by one, and sometimes by the other of them. And first, to speak of that about my questioning my election, I found at this time, that though I was in a flame to find the way to heaven and glory, and though nothing could beat me off from this, yet this question did so offend and discourage me, that I was, especially at some times, as if the very strength of my body also had been taken away by the force and power thereof. This scripture did also seem to me to trample upon all my desires, "It is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that showeth mercy”(Ro 9:16).

59. With this scripture I could not tell what to do; for I evidently saw, that unless the great God, of his infinite grace and bounty, had voluntarily chosen me to be a vessel of mercy, though I should desire, and long and labour until my heart did break, no good could come of it. Therefore, this would still stick with me, How can you tell that you are elected? And what if you should not? How then?

60. 0 Lord, thought I, what if I should not, indeed? It may be you are not, said the tempter; it may be so, indeed, thought I. Why, then, said Satan, you had as good leave off, and strive no further; for if, indeed, you should not be elected and chosen of God, there is no talk of your being saved; "For it is neither of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that showeth mercy."

61. By these things I was driven to my wits' end, not knowing what to say, or how to answer these temptations. Indeed, I little thought that Satan had thus assaulted me, but that rather it was my own prudence, thus to start the question; for, that the elect only attained eternal life, that I, without scruple, did heartily close withal; but that myself was one of them, there lay all the question.

62. Thus, therefore, for several days, I was greatly assaulted and perplexed, and was often, when I have been walking, ready to sink where I went, with faintness in my mind; but one day, after I had been so many weeks oppressed and cast down therewith, as I was now quite giving up the ghost of all my hopes of ever attaining life, that sentence fell with weight upon my spirit, "Look at the generations of old and see; did ever any trust in the Lord, and was confounded?”

63. At which I was greatly lightened and encouraged in my soul; for thus, at that very instant, it was expounded to me, Begin at the beginning of Genesis, and read to the end of the Revelation, and see if you can find that there was ever any that trusted in the Lord, and was confounded. So, coming home, I presently went to my Bible to see if I could find that saying, not doubting but to find it presently; for it was so fresh, and with such strength and comfort on my spirit, that I was as if it talked with me.

64. Well, I looked, but I found it not; only it abode upon me; then I did ask first this good man, and then another, if they knew where it was, but they knew no such place. At this I wondered, that such a sentence should so suddenly, and with such comfort and strength, seize and abide upon my heart, and yet that none could find it, for I doubted not but it was in holy Scripture.

65. Thus I continued above a year, and could not find the place; but at last, casting my eye into the Apocrypha books, I found it in Ecclesiasticus 2:10. This, at the first, did somewhat daunt me; but because, by this time, I had got more experience of the love and kindness of God, it troubled me the less; especially when I considered, that though it was not in those texts that we call holy and canonical, yet forasmuch as this sentence was the sum and substance of many of the promises, it was my duty to take the comfort of it; and I bless God for that word, for it was of God to me: that word Both still, at times, shine before my face.

66. After this, that other doubt did come with strength upon me, But how if the day of grace should be past and gone? How if you have over-stood the time of mercy? Now, I remember that one day, as I was walking into the country, I was much in the thoughts of this, But how if the day of grace be past? And to aggravate my trouble, the tempter presented to my mind those good people of Bedford, and suggested thus unto me, That these being converted already, they were all that God would save in those parts; and that I came too late, for these had got the blessing before I came.

67. Now was I in great distress, thinking in very deed that this might well be so; wherefore I went up and down bemoaning my sad condition, counting myself far worse than a thousand fools, for standing off thus long, and spending so many years in sin as I had done; still crying out, Oh, that I had turned sooner; Oh, that I had turned seven years ago! It made me also angry with myself, to think that I should have no more wit, but to trifle away my time till my soul and heaven were lost.

68. But when I had been long vexed with this fear, and was scarce able to take one step more, just about the same place where I received my other encouragement, these words broke in upon my mind, "Compel them to come in, that my house may be filled"; "and yet there is room”(Lu 14:22-23). These words, but especially them, "And yet there is room”were sweet words to me; for, truly, I thought that by them I saw there was place enough in heaven for me; and, moreover, that when the Lord Jesus did speak these words, he then did think of me; and that he knowing that the time would come that I should be afflicted with fear that there was no place left for me in his bosom, did before speak this word, and leave it upon record, that I might find help thereby against this vile temptations. 'This, I then verily believed.

69. In the light and encouragement of this word, I went a pretty while; and the comfort was the more, when I thought that the Lord Jesus should think on me so long ago, and that he should speak them words on purpose for my sake; for I did then think, verily, that he did on purpose speak them, to encourage me withal.

70. 'But I was not without my temptations to go back again; temptations, I say, both from Satan, mine own heart, and carnal acquaintance; but I thank God these were outweighed by that sound sense of death and of the day of judgment, which abode, as it were, continually in my view; I should often also think on Nebuchadnezzar, of whom it is said, He had given him all the kingdoms of the earth (Da 5:19). Yet, thought I, if this great man had all his portion in this world, one hour in hell fire would make him forget all. Which consideration was a great help to me.'

71. 'I was almost made, about this time, to see something concerning the beasts that Moses counted clean and unclean. I thought those beasts were types of men; the clean, types of them that were the people of God; but the unclean, types of such as were the children of the wicked one. Now, I read that the clean beasts chewed the cud; that is, thought I, they show us we must feed upon the Word of God. They also parted the hoof; I thought that signified we must part, if we would be saved, with the ways of ungodly men. And also, in further reading about them I found, that though we did chew the cud as the hare, yet if we walked with claws like a dog, or if we did part the hoof like the swine, yet if we did not chew the cud as the sheep, we were still, for all that, but unclean; for I thought the here to be a type of those that talk of the Word, yet walk in the ways of sin; and that the swine was like him that parteth with his outward pollutions, but still wanteth the Word of faith, without which there could be no way of salvation, let a man be never so devout (De 14).' After this I found, by reading the Word, that those that must be glorified with Christ in another world must be called by him here; called to the partaking of a share in his Word and righteousness, and to the comforts and first fruits of his spirit, and to a peculiar interest in all those heavenly things which do indeed fore fit the soul for that rest and house of glory which is in heaven above.

72. Here, again, I was at a very great stand, not knowing what to do, fearing I was not called; for, thought I, if I be not called, what then can do me good? 'None but those who are effectually called, inherit the kingdom of heaven.' But oh! how I now loved those words that spake of a Christian's calling! as when the Lord said to one, "Follow me,”and to another, "Come after me.”And oh! thought I, that he would say so to me too, how gladly would I run after him!

73. I cannot now express with what longings and breakings in my soul I cried to Christ to call me. Thus I continued for a time, all on a flame to be converted to Jesus Christ; and did also see at that day, such glory in a converted state, that I could not be contented without a share therein. Gold! could it have been gotten for gold, what could I have given for it! had I had a whole world it had all gone ten thousand times over for this, that my soul might have been in a converted state.

74. How lovely now was every one in my eyes that I thought to be converted men and women! they shone, they walked like a people that carried the broad seal of heaven about them. Oh! I saw the lot was fallen to them in pleasant places, and they had a goodly heritage (Ps 16:6). But that which made me sick was that of Christ, in Mark, He went up into a mountain and called to him whom he would, and they came unto him (Mr 3:13).

75. This scripture made me faint and fear, yet it kindled fire in my soul. That which made me fear was this, lest Christ should have no liking to me, for he called "whom he would.” But oh! the glory that I saw in that condition did still so engage my heart that I could seldom read of any that Christ did call but I presently wished, Would I had been in their clothes; would I had been born Peter; would I had been born John; or would I had been by and had heard him when he called them, how would I have cried, 0 Lord, call me also. But oh! I feared he would not call me.

76. And truly the Lord let me go thus many months together and showed me nothing; either that I was already, or should be called hereafter. But at last, after much time spent, and many groans to God, that I might be made partaker of the holy and heavenly calling, that Word came in upon me—"I will cleanse their blood that I have not cleansed, for the Lord dwelleth in Zion”(Joe 3:21). These words I thought were sent to encourage me to wait still upon God, and signified unto me, that if I were not already, yet time might come I might be in truth converted unto Christ.24

24 The Christian who is found waiting upon God, is the thriving one; the best way to be assured of our election is to examine our state with the touchstone of truth, the Scriptures. The elect of God know Christ savingly, esteem him precious, and obey him cheerfully from love and gratitude.—Mason.

77. About this time I began to break my mind to those poor people in Bedford, and to tell them my condition, which, when they had heard, they told Mr. Gifford of me, who himself also took occasion to talk with me, and was willing to be 'well' persuaded of me, though I think but from little grounds: but he invited me to his house, where I should hear him confer with others, about the dealings of God with the soul; from all which I still received more conviction, and from that time began to see something of the vanity and inward wretchedness of my wicked heart, for as yet I knew no great matter therein; but now it began to be discovered unto me, and also to work at that rate for wickedness as it never did before. Now I evidently found that lusts and corruptions would strongly put forth themselves within me, in wicked thoughts and desires, which I did not regard before; my desires also for heaven and life began to fail. I found also, that whereas before my soul was full of longing after God, now my heart began to hanker after every foolish vanity; yea, my heart would not be moved to mind that that was good; it began to be careless, both of my soul and heaven; it would now continually hang back, both to, and in every duty; and was as a clog on the leg of a bird to hinder her from flying.

78. Nay, thought I, now I grow worse and worse; now am I further from conversion than ever I was before. Wherefore I began to sink greatly in my soul, and began to entertain such discouragement in my heart as laid me low as hell. If now I should have burned at a stake, I could not believe that Christ had love for me; alas, I could neither hear him, nor see him, nor feel him, nor savour any of his things; I was driven as with a tempest, my heart would be unclean, the Canaanites would dwell in the land.

79. Sometimes I would tell my condition to the people of God, which, when they heard, they would pity me, and would tell me of the promises; but they had as good have told me that I must reach the sun with my finger as have bidden me receive or rely upon the promise; and as soon as I should have done it, all my sense and feeling was against me; and I saw I had a heart that would sin, and 'that' lay under a law that would condemn.

80. These things have often made me think of that child which the father brought to Christ, who, while he was yet a coming to him, was thrown down by the devil, and also so rent and torn by him that he lay and wallowed, foaming (Lu 9:42; Mr 9:20).

81. Further, in these days I should find my heart to shut itself up against the Lord, and against his holy Word. I have found my unbelief to set, as it were, the shoulder to the door to keep him out, and that too even then, when I have with many a bitter sigh cried, Good Lord, break it open; Lord, break these gates of brass, and cut these bars of iron asunder (Ps 107:16). Yet that word would sometimes create in my heart a peaceable pause, "I girded thee, though thou hast not known me”(Isa 45:5).

82. But all this while as to the act of sinning, I never was more tender than now; I durst not take a pin or a stick, though but so big as a straw, for my conscience now was sore, and would smart at every touch; I could not now tell how to speak my words, for fear I should misplace them. Oh, how gingerly25 did I then go in all I did or said! I found myself as on a miry bog that shook if I did but stir; and 'was' there left both of God and Christ, and the Spirit, and all good things.

25 `Gingerly'; cautiously.

`Has it a corn? or do's it walk on conscience,
It treads so gingerly.' Love's Cure, Act ii., Scene 1.—Ed.

83. 'But, I observe, though I was such a great sinner before conversion, yet God never much charged the guilt of the sins of my ignorance upon me; only he showed me I was lost if I had not Christ, because I had been a sinner; I saw that I wanted a perfect righteousness to present me without fault before God, and this righteousness was nowhere to be found, but in the person of Jesus Christ.'

84. 'But my original and inward pollution, that, that was my plague and my affliction; that, I say, at a dreadful rate, always putting forth itself within me; that I had the guilt of, to amazement; by reason of that, I was more loathsome in my own eyes than was a toad; and I thought I was so in God's eyes too; sin and corruption, I said, would as naturally bubble out of my heart, as water would bubble out of a fountain. I thought now that every one had a better heart than I had; I could have changed heart with any body; I thought none but the devil himself could equalize me for inward wickedness and pollution of mind. I fell, therefore, at the sight of my own vileness, deeply into despair; for I concluded that this condition that I was in could not stand with a state of grace. Sure, thought I, I am forsaken of God; sure I am given up to the devil, and to a reprobate mind; and thus I continued a long while, even for some years together.'

85. 'While I was thus afflicted with the fears of my own damnation, there were two things would make me wonder; the one was, when I saw old people hunting after the things of this life, as if they should live here always; the other was, when I found professors much distressed and cast down, when they met with outward losses; as of husband, wife, child, &c. Lord, thought I, what ado is here about such little things as these! What seeking after carnal things by some, and what grief in others for the loss of them! if they so much labour after, and spend so many tears for the things of this present life, how am I to be bemoaned, pitied, and prayed for! My soul is dying, my soul is damning. Were my soul but in a good condition, and were I but sure of it, ah! how rich should I esteem myself, though blessed but with bread and water; I should count those but small afflictions, and should bear them as little burdens. "A wounded spirit who can bear?"'

86. And though I was thus troubled, and tossed, and afflicted, with the sight and sense and terror of my own wickedness, yet I was afraid to let this sight and sense go quite off my mind; for I found, that unless guilt of conscience was taken off the right way, that is, by the blood of Christ, a man grew rather worse for the loss of his trouble of mind, than better. Wherefore, if my guilt lay hard upon me, then I should cry that the blood of Christ might take it off; and if it was going off without it (for the sense of sin would be sometimes as if it would die, and go quite away), then I would also strive to fetch it upon my heart again, by bringing the punishment for sin in hell fire upon my spirits; and should cry, Lord, let it not go off my heart, but the right way, but by the blood of Christ, and by the application of thy mercy, through him, to my soul; for that Scripture lay much upon me, "without shedding of blood is no remission”(Heb 9:22). And that which made me the more afraid of this was, because I had seen some, who, though when they were under wounds of conscience, then they would cry and pray; but they seeking rather present ease from their trouble, than pardon for their sin, cared not how they lost their guilt, so they got it out of their mind; and, therefore, having got it off the wrong way, it was not sanctified unto them; but they grew harder and blinder, and more wicked after their trouble. This made me afraid, and made me cry to God 'the more,' that it might not be so with me.

87. And now was I sorry that God had made me a man, for I feared I was a reprobate; I counted man as unconverted, the most doleful of all the creatures. Thus being afflicted and tossed about my sad condition, I counted myself alone, and above the most of men unblessed.

88. 'Yea, I thought it impossible that ever I should attain to so much goodness of heart, as to thank God that he had made me a man. Man indeed is the most noble by creation, of all creatures in the visible world; but by sin he had made himself the most ignoble. The beasts, birds, fishes, &c., I blessed their condition, for they had not a sinful nature, they were not obnoxious to the wrath of God; they were not to go to hell fire after death; I could therefore have rejoiced, had my condition been as any of theirs.'

89. In this condition I went a great while; but when comforting time was come, I heard one preach a sermon upon those words in the Song (Song 4:1), "Behold thou art fair, my love; behold, thou art fair.”But at that time he made these two words, "My love,”his chief and subject matter; from which, after he had a little opened the text, he observed these several conclusions: 1. That the church, and so every saved soul, is Christ's love, when loveless. 2. Christ's love without a cause. 3. Christ's love when hated of the world. 4. Christ's love when under temptation, and under desertion. 5. Christ's love from first to last.

90. But I got nothing by what he said at present, only when he came to the application of the fourth particular, this was the word he said; If it be so, that the saved soul is Christ's love when under temptation and desertion; then poor tempted soul, when thou art assaulted and afflicted with temptation, and the hidings of God's face, yet think on these two words, "My love,” still.

91. So as I was a going home, these words came again into my thoughts; and I well remember, as they came in, I said thus in my heart, What shall I get by thinking on these two words? This thought had no sooner passed through my heart, but the words began thus to kindle in my spirit, "Thou art my love, thou art my love,”twenty times together; and still as they ran thus in my mind, they waxed stronger and warmer, and began to make me look up; but being as yet between hope and fear, I still replied in my heart, But is it true, but is it true? At which, that sentence fell in upon me, He "wist not that it was true which was done by the angel”(Ac 12:9).

92. Then I began to give place to the word, which, with power, did over and over make this joyful sound within my soul, thou art my love, thou art my love; and nothing shall separate thee from my love; and with that (Ro 8:39) came into my mind: Now was my heart filled full of comfort and hope, and now I could believe that my sins should be forgiven me; `yea, I was now so taken with the love and mercy of God, that I remember I could not tell how to contain till I got home; I thought I could have spoken of his love, and of his mercy to me, even to the very crows that sat upon the ploughed lands before me, had they been capable to have understood me'; wherefore I said in my soul, with much gladness, well, I would I had a pen and ink here, I would write this down before I go any further, for surely I will not forget this forty years hence; but, alas! within less than forty days, I began to question all again; 'which made me begin to question all still.'

93. Yet still at times, I was helped to believe that it was a true manifestation of grace unto my soul, though I had lost much of the life and savour of it. Now about a week or fortnight after this, I was much followed by this scripture, "Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you”(Lu 22:31). And sometimes it would sound so loud within me, yea, and as it were call so strongly after me, that once above all the rest, I turned my head over my shoulder, thinking verily that some man had, behind me, called to me; being at a great distance, `methought he called so loud; it came, as I have thought since, to have stirred me up to prayer, and to watchfulness; it came to acquaint me that a cloud and a storm was coming down upon me, but I understood it not,'26

26 Manifestations of love and grace are not to be rested in, or made a saviour of; they are given to strengthen and prepare us for future trials.—Mason.

94. 'Also, as I remember, that time that it called to me so loud, was the last time that it sounded in mine ear; but methinks I hear still with what a loud voice these words, Simon, Simon, sounded in mine ears. I thought verily, as I have told you, that somebody had called after me, that was half a mile behind me; and although that was not my name, yet it made me suddenly look behind me, believing that he that called so loud meant me.'

95. But so foolish was I, and ignorant, that I knew not the reason of this sound; which, as I did both see and feel soon after, was sent from heaven as an alarm, to awaken me to provide for what was coming; only it would make me muse and wonder in my mind, to think what should be the reason that this scripture, and that at this rate, so often and so loud, should still be sounding and rattling in mine ears; but, as I said before, I soon after perceived the end of God therein.

96. For about the space of a month after, a very great storm came down upon me, which handled me twenty times worse than all I had met with before; it came stealing upon me, now by one piece, then by another; first, all my comfort was taken from me, then darkness seized upon me, after which, whole floods of blasphemies, both against God, Christ, and the Scriptures, were poured upon my spirit, to my great confusion and astonishment. These blasphemous thoughts were such as also stirred up questions in me, against the very being of God, and of his only beloved Son; as, whether there were, in truth, a God, or Christ, or no? and whether the holy Scriptures were not rather a fable, and cunning story, than the holy and pure Word of God?

97. The tempter would also much assault me with this, how can you tell but that the Turks had as good Scriptures to prove their Mahomet the Saviour, as we have to prove our Jesus is? And, could I think, that so many ten thousands, in so many countries and kingdoms, should be without the knowledge of the right way to heaven; if there were indeed a heaven, and that we only, who live in a corner of the earth, should alone be blessed therewith? Every one Both think his own religion rightest, both Jews and Moors, and Pagans! and how if all our faith, and Christ, and Scriptures, should be but a think-so too?

98. Sometimes I have endeavoured to argue against these suggestions, and to set some of the sentences of blessed Paul against them; but, alas! I quickly felt, when I thus did, such arguings as these would return again upon me, Though we made so great a matter of Paul, and of his words, yet how could I tell, but that in very deed, he being a subtle and cunning man, might give himself up to deceive with strong delusions; and also take both that pains and travel, to undo and destroy his fellows.

99. These suggestions, with many other which at this time I may not, nor dare not utter, neither by word nor pen, did make such a seizure upon my spirit, and did so overweigh my heart, both with their number, continuance, and fiery force, that I felt as if there were nothing else but these from morning to night within me; and as though, indeed, there could be room for nothing else; and also concluded, that God had, in very wrath to my soul, given me up unto them, to be carried away with them, as with a mighty whirlwind.

100. Only by the distaste that they gave unto my spirit, I felt there was something in me, that refused to embrace them. But this consideration I then only had, when God gave me leave to swallow my spittle, otherwise the noise, and strength, and force of these temptations, would drown and overflow; and as it were, bury all such thoughts or the remembrance of any such thing. While I was in this temptation, I should often find my mind suddenly put upon it, to curse and swear, or to speak some grievous thing against God, or Christ his Son, and of the Scriptures.27

27 Here we have Christian in the valley of the shadow of death. 'One thing I would not let slip, 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 against the mouth of the burning pit, one of the wicked ones got behind him, and stept up softly to him, and whisperingly suggested many grievous blasphemies to him, which he verily thought had proceeded from his own mind.'—Pilgrim's Progress.—Ed.

101. Now I thought, surely I am possessed of the devil; at other times again, I thought I should be bereft of my wits; for instead of lauding and magnifying God the Lord with others, if I have but heard him spoken of, presently some most horrible blasphemous thought or other, would bolt out of my heart against him; so that whether I did think that God was, or again did think there were no such thing; no love, nor peace, nor gracious disposition could I feel within me.

102. These things did sink me into very deep despair; for I concluded, that such things could not possibly be found amongst them that loved God. I often, when these temptations have been with force upon me, did compare myself in the case of such a child, whom some gipsy hath by force took up under her apron,28 and is carrying from friend and country; kick sometimes I did, and also scream and cry; but yet I was as bound in the wings of the temptation, and the wind would carry me away. I thought also of Saul, and of the evil spirit that did possess him; and did greatly fear that my condition was the same with that of his (1Sa 16:14).

28 'Under her apron,' was altered in subsequent editions to 'in her arms.'—Ed.

103. In these days, when I have heard others talk of what was the sin against the Holy Ghost, then would the tempter so provoke me to desire to sin that sin, that I was as if I could not, must not, neither should be quiet until I had committed that; now, no sin would serve but that; if it were to be committed by speaking of such a word, then I have been as if my mouth would have spoken that word, whether I would or no; and in so strong a measure was this temptation upon me, that often I have been ready to clap my hand under my chin, to hold my mouth from opening; and to that end also I have had thoughts at other times, to leap with my head downward, into some muck hill hole or other, to keep my mouth from speaking.

104. Now I blessed the condition of the dog and toad, and counted the estate of everything that God had made far better than this dreadful state of mine, and such as my companions was; yea, gladly would I have been in the condition of dog or horse, for I knew they had no soul to perish under the everlasting weights of hell for sin, as mine was like to do. Nay, and though I saw this, felt this, and was broken to pieces with it, yet that which added to my sorrow was, that I could not find that with all my soul I did desire deliverance. That scripture did also tear and rend my soul, in the midst of these distractions, "The wicked are like the troubled sea when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt. There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked”(Isa 57:20-21).

105. 'And now my heart was, at times, exceeding hard; if I would have given a thousand pounds for a tear, I could not shed one; no, nor sometimes scarce desire to shed one. I was much dejected to think that this should be my lot. I saw some could mourn and lament their sin; and others, again, could rejoice, and bless God for Christ; and others, again, could quietly talk of, and with gladness remember, the Word of God; while I only was in the storm or tempest. This much sunk me; I thought my condition was alone. I should, therefore, much bewail my hard hap; but get out of, or get rid of, these things, I could not.'

106. While this temptation lasted, which was about a year, I could attend upon none of the ordinances of God but with sore and great affliction. Yea, then was I most distressed with blasphemies; if I have been hearing the Word, then uncleanness, blasphemies, and despair would hold me as captive there; if I have been reading, then, sometimes, I had sudden thoughts to question all I read; sometimes, again, my mind would be so strangely snatched away, and possessed with other things, that I have neither known, nor regarded, nor remembered so much as the sentence that but now I have read.

107. In prayer, also, I have been greatly troubled at this time; sometimes I have thought I should see the devil, nay, thought I have felt him, behind me, pull my clothes; he would be, also, continually at me in the time of prayer to have done; break off, make haste, you have prayed enough, and stay no longer, still drawing my mind away. Sometimes, also, he would cast in such wicked thoughts as these: that I must pray to him, or for him. I have thought sometimes of that—Fall down, or, "if thou wilt fall down and worship me”(Mt 4:9).

108. Also, when, because I have had wandering thoughts in the time of this duty, I have laboured to compose my mind and fix it upon God, then, with great force, hath the tempter laboured to distract me, and confound me, and to turn away my mind, by presenting to my heart and fancy the form of a bush, a bull, a besom, or the like, as if I should pray to those; to these he would, also, at some times especially, so hold my mind that I was as if I could think of nothing else, or pray to nothing else but to these, or such as they.

109. Yet, at times I should have some strong and heart-affecting apprehensions of God, and the reality of the truth of his gospel; but, oh! how would my heart, at such times, put forth itself with inexpressible groanings. My whole soul was then in every word; I should cry with pangs after God that he would be merciful unto me; but then I should be daunted again with such conceits as these; I should think that God did mock at these, my prayers, saying, and that in the audience of the holy angels, This poor simple wretch Both hanker after me as if I had nothing to do with my mercy but to bestow it on such as he. Alas, poor fool!29 how art thou deceived! It is not for such as thee to have a favour with the Highest.

29 'Poor fool'; altered, in later editions, to 'poor soul.'—Ed.

110. Then hath the tempter come upon me, also, with such discouragements as these—You are very hot for mercy, but I will cool you; this frame shall not last always; many have been as hot as you for a spirit, but I have quenched their zeal. And with this, such and such who were fallen off would be set before mine eyes. Then I should be afraid that I should do so too; but, thought I, I am glad this comes into my mind. Well, I will watch, and take what heed I can. Though you do, said Satan, I shall be too hard for you; I will cool you insensibly, by degrees, by little and little. What care I, saith he, though I be seven years in chilling your heart if I can do it at last? Continual rocking will lull a crying child asleep. I will ply it close, but I will have my end accomplished. Though you be burning hot at present, yet, if I can pull you from this fire, I shall have you cold before it be long.

111. These things brought me into great straits; for as I at present could not find myself fit for present death, so I thought to live long would make me yet more unfit; for time would make me forget all, and wear even the remembrance of the evil of sin, the worth of heaven, and the need I had of the blood of Christ to wash me, both out of mind and thought; but I thank Christ Jesus these things did not at present make me slack my crying, but rather did put me more upon it, like her who met with the adulterer (De 22:27); in which days that was a good word to me after I had suffered these things a while: "I am persuaded that neither - height, nor depth, nor life,”&c., "shall — separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus”(Ro 8:38). And now I hoped long life should not destroy me, nor make me miss of heaven.

112. Yet I had some supports in this temptation, though they were then all questioned by me; that in the third of Jeremiah, at the first, was something to me, and so was the consideration of the fifth verse(Jer 3:5) of that chapter; that though we have spoken and done as evil things as we could, yet we should cry unto God, "My Father, thou art the guide of my youth"; and should return unto him.

113. I had, also, once a sweet glance from that in 2Co 5:21: "For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.”I remember, also, that one day as I was sitting in a neighbour's house, and there very sad at the consideration of my many blasphemies, and as I was saying in my mind, What ground have I to think that I, who have been so vile and abominable, should ever inherit eternal life? that word came suddenly upon me, "What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?”(Ro 8:31). That, also, was an help unto me, "Because I live, ye shall live also”(Joh 14:19). But these were but hints, touches, and short visits, though very sweet when present; only they lasted not; but, like to Peter's sheet, of a sudden were caught up from me to heaven again (Ac 10:16).

114. But afterwards the Lord did more fully and graciously discover himself unto me; and, indeed, did quite, not only deliver me from the guilt that, by these things, was laid upon my conscience, but also from the very filth thereof; for the temptation was removed, and I was put into my right mind again, as other Christians were.

115. I remember that one day, as I was traveling into the country and musing on the wickedness and blasphemy of my heart, and considering of the enmity that was in me to God, that scripture came in my mind, He hath "made peace through the blood of his cross”(Col 1:20). By which I was made to see, both again, and again, and again, that day, that God and my soul were friends by this blood; yea, I saw that the justice of God and my sinful soul could embrace and kiss each other through this blood. This was a good day to me; I hope I shall not forget it.

116. At another time, as I sat by the fire in my house, and musing on my wretchedness, the Lord made that also a precious word unto me, "Forasmuch, then, as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver them who, through fear of death, were all their lifetime subject to bondage”(Heb 2:14-15). I thought that the glory of these words was then so weighty on me that I was, both once and twice, ready to swoon as I sat; yet not with grief and trouble, but with solid joy and peace.



117. At this time, also, I sat under the ministry of holy Mr. Gifford, whose doctrine, by God's grace, was much for my stability!30 This man made it much his business to deliver the people of God from all those false and unsound rests that, by nature, we are prone to take and make to our souls. He pressed us to take special heed that we took not up any truth upon trust—as from this, or that, or any other man or men—but to cry mightily to God that he would convince us of the reality thereof, and set us down therein, by his own Spirit, in the holy Word; for, said he, if you do otherwise when temptations come, if strongly, you, not having received them with evidence from heaven, will find you want that help and strength now to resist as once you thought you had.

30 John Gifford, Bunyan's pastor, was a Kentish man, and had been a major in the King's army, a roistering cavalier. For some crimes, he, with eleven others, was condemned to be hung, but made his escape to London, and thence to Bedford, where, being unknown, he practiced physic. Addicted to swearing, drinking, and gambling, he, in distress at a serious loss, vowed repentance; he became greatly distressed under conviction of sin; at length his mind was enlightened, the Holy Spirit led him to forgiveness by the atonement of Christ, and his heart was filled with a hitherto unknown source of blessedness. This he imparted to others, and at length, in 1650, formed a church, with which the soul-harassed pilgrim Bunyan cast in his lot as a member in 1653. There appears to have been a strong mutual affection between him and his pastor.

In 1658, Mr. Gifford published a preface to Bunyan's 'Few Sighs from Hell,' in which he speaks of him with the warmest affection, as one 'that I verily believe God hath counted faithful, and put him into the ministry—one that hath acquaintance with God, and taught by his Spirit, and hath been used to do souls good. Divers have felt the power of the word delivered by him, and I doubt not but that many more may, if God continue him in his work.' Judging from Gifford's preface, he must have been an excellent teacher to train Bunyan for his important labours as a Christian minister. He uses the same fervid striking language. Thus, on the value of the soul: 'Consider what an ill bargain thou will make to sell thy precious soul for a short continuance in sin and pleasure. If that man drives an ill trade, who to gain the whole world should lose his own soul, then certainly thou art far worse that sells thy soul for a very trifle. Oh, `tis pity that so precious a thing should be parted withal to be made a prey for the devouring lion, for that which is worse than nothing. If they were branded for desperate wretches that caused their children to pass through the fire to Moloch, surely thou much more that gives thy soul to devouring flames. What meanest thou, 0 man! to truck* with the devil?'—See Sighs, 1' Edition, and Brooks' Puritans.—Ed.

* 'To truck'; to barter or exchange.

118. This was as seasonable to my soul as the former and latter rain in their season; for I had found, and that by sad experience, the truth of these his words; for I had felt [what] no man can say, especially when tempted by the devil, that Jesus Christ is Lord but by the Holy Ghost. Wherefore I found my soul, through grace, very apt to drink in this doctrine, and to incline to pray to God that, in nothing that pertained to God's glory and my own eternal happiness, he would suffer me to be without the confirmation thereof from heaven; for now I saw clearly there was an exceeding different betwixt the notions of flesh and blood, and the revelations of God in heaven; also, a great difference between that faith that is feigned, and according to man's wisdom, and of that which comes by a man's being born thereto of God (Mt 16:15-17; 1Jo 5:1).

119. But, oh! now, how was my soul led from truth to truth by God! even from the birth and cradle of the Son of God to his ascension and second coming from heaven to judge the world.

120. Truly, I then found, upon this account, the great God was very good unto me; for, to my remembrance, there was not anything that I then cried unto God to make known and reveal unto me but he was pleased to do it for me; I mean not one part of the gospel of the Lord Jesus, but I was orderly led into it. Methought I saw with great evidence, from the relation of the four evangelists, the wonderful work of God, in giving Jesus Christ to save us, from his conception and birth even to his second coming to judgment, Methought I was as if I had seen him born, as if I had seen him grow up, as if I had seen him walk through this world, from the cradle to his cross; to which, also, when he came, I saw how gently he gave himself to be hanged and nailed on it for my sins and wicked doings. Also, as I was musing on this, his progress, that dropped on my spirit, He was ordained for the slaughter (1Pe 1:19-20).

121. When I have considered also the truth of his resurrection, and have remembered that word, "Touch me not, Mary,”&c., I have seen as if he leaped at the grave's mouth for joy that he was risen again, and had got the conquest over our dreadful foes (Joh 20:17). I have also, in the spirit, seen him a man on the right hand of God the Father for me, and have seen the manner of his coming from heaven to judge the world with glory, and have been confirmed in these things by these scriptures following, Ac 1:9-10; 7:56; 10:42; Heb 7:24; 8:3; Re 1:18; 1Th 4:17-18.

122. Once I was much troubled to know whether the Lord Jesus was both man as well as God, and God as well as man; and truly, in those days, let men say what they would, unless I had it with evidence from heaven, all was as nothing to me, I counted not myself set down in any truth of God. Well, I was much troubled about this point, and could not tell how to be resolved; at last, that in the fifth of the Revelation came into my mind, "And I beheld, and lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb.”In the midst of the throne, 'thought I,' there is his Godhead; in the midst of the elders, there is his manhood; but oh! methought this did glister! it was a goodly touch, and gave me sweet satisfaction. That other scripture also did help me much in this, "To us a child is born, unto us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace,”&c. (Isa 9:6).

123. Also, besides these teachings of God in his Word, the Lord made use of two things to confirm me in these things; the one was the errors of the Quakers, and the other was the guilt of sin; for as the Quakers did oppose his truth, so God did the more confirm me in it, by leading me into the scriptures that did wonderfully maintain it.31

31 That persons called Quakers held these heresies, there can be no doubt; but they were never held by that respectable and useful body of Christians, the Society of Friends, is equally clear. Barclay, in his Theses, 1675, says of the Scriptures:--'They are the doctrine of Christ, held forth in precious declarations, spoken and written by the movings of God's Spirit.' He goes on to say, that the same Spirit can alone guide man into these sacred truths. In all important doctrines, the difference between the Quakers and evangelical professors is in terms and not in things. Their distinguishing difference relates to the work of the ministry.—Ed.

124. 'The errors that this people then maintained were, 1. That the holy Scriptures were not the Word of God. 2. That every man in the world had the spirit of Christ, grace, faith, &c. 3. That Christ Jesus, as crucified, and dying 1600 years ago, did not satisfy divine justice for the sins of the people. 4. That Christ's flesh and blood was within the saints. 5. That the bodies of the good and bad that are buried in the churchyard shall not arise again. 6. That the resurrection is past with good men already. 7. That that man Jesus, that was crucified between two thieves on Mount Calvary, in the land of Canaan, by Jerusalem, was not ascended up above the starry heavens. 8. That he should not, even the same Jesus that died by the hands of the Jews, come again at the last day, and as man judge all nations, &c.'

125. 'Many more vile and abominable things were in those days fomented by them, by which I was driven to a more narrow search of the Scriptures, and was, through their light and testimony, not only enlightened, but greatly confirmed and comforted in the truth'; and, as I said, the guilt of sin did help me much, for still as that would come upon me, the blood of Christ did take it off again, and again, and again, and that too, sweetly, according to the Scriptures. 0 friends! cry to God to reveal Jesus Christ unto you; there is none teacheth like him.

126. It would be too long for me here to stay, to tell you in particular how God did set me down in all the things of Christ, and how he did, that he might so do, lead me into his words; yea, and also how he did open them unto me, make them shine before me, and cause them to dwell with me, talk with me, and comfort me over and over, both of his own being, and the being of his Son, and Spirit, and Word, and gospel.

127. Only this, as I said before I will say unto you again, that in general he was pleased to take this course with me; first, to suffer me to be afflicted with temptation concerning them, and then reveal them to me: as sometimes I should lie under great guilt for sin, even crushed to the ground therewith, and then the Lord would show me the death of Christ; yea, and so sprinkle my conscience with his blood, that I should find, and that before I was aware, that in that conscience where but just now did reign and rage the law, even there would rest and abide the peace and love of God through Christ.

128. Now had I an evidence, 'as I thought, of my salvation' from heaven, with many golden seals thereon, all hanging in my sight; now could I remember this manifestation and the other discovery of grace, with comfort; and should often long and desire that the last day were come, that I might for ever be inflamed with the sight, and joy, and communion with him whose head was crowned with thorns, whose face was spit on, and body broken, and soul made an offering for my sins: for whereas, before, I lay continually trembling at the mouth of hell, now methought I was got so far therefrom that I could not, when I looked back, scarce discern it; and, oh! thought I, that I were fourscore years old now, that I might die quickly, that my soul might be gone to rest.32

32 How natural is it for man to build up vain hopes of long life! Bunyan's vigorous constitution, had he enjoyed the free air of liberty, might have prolonged his pilgrimage to extreme old age. But his long imprisonment shortened his valuable life: it almost amounted to legal murder.—Ed.

129. 'But before I had got thus far out of these my temptations, I did greatly long to see some ancient godly man's experience, who had writ some hundreds of years before I was born; for those who had writ in our days, I thought, but I desire them now to pardon me, that they had writ only that which others felt, or else had, through the strength of their wits and parts, studied to answer such objections as they perceived others were perplexed with, without going down themselves into the deep. Well, after many such longings in my mind, the God in whose hands are all our days and ways, did cast into my hand, one day, a book of Martin Luther; it was his comment on the Galatians—it also was so old that it was ready to fall piece from piece if I did but turn it over. Now I was pleased much that such an old book had fallen into my hands; the which, when I had but a little way perused, I found my condition, in his experience, so largely and profoundly handled, as if his book had been written out of my heart. This made me marvel; for thus thought I, This man could not know anything of the state of Christians now, but must needs write and speak the experience of former days.'

130. 'Besides, he Both most gravely, also, in that book, debate of the rise of these temptations, namely, blasphemy, desperation, and the like; showing that the law of Moses as well as the devil, death, and hell hath a very great hand therein, the which, at first, was very strange to me; but considering and watching, I found it so indeed. But of particulars here I intend nothing; only this, methinks, I must let fall before all men, I do prefer this book of Martin Luther upon the Galatians, excepting the Holy Bible, before all the books that ever I have seen, as most fit for a wounded conscience.'

131. 'And now I found, as I thought, that I loved Christ dearly; oh! methought my soul cleaved unto him, my affections cleaved unto him. I felt love to him as hot as fire; and now, as Job said, I thought I should die in my nest; but I did quickly find that my great love was but little, and that I, who had, as I thought, such burning love to Jesus Christ, could let him go again for a very trifle; God can tell how to abase us, and can hide pride from man. Quickly after this my love was tried to purpose.'

132. For after the Lord had, in this manner, thus graciously delivered me from this great and sore temptation, and had set me down so sweetly in the faith of his holy gospel, and had given me such strong consolation and blessed evidence from heaven touching my interest in his love through Christ; the tempter came upon me again, and that with a more grievous and dreadful temptation than before.

133. And that was, To sell and part with this most blessed Christ, to exchange him for the things of this life, for anything. The temptation lay upon me for the space of a year, and did follow me so continually that I was not rid of it one day in a month, no, not sometimes one hour in many days together, unless 'when' I was asleep.

134. And though, in my judgment, I was persuaded that those who were once effectually in Christ, as I hoped, through his grace, I had seen myself, could never lose him for ever—for "the land shall not be sold for ever, for the land is mine,”saith God (Le 25:23)33—yet it was a continual vexation to me to think that I should have so much as one such thought within me against a Christ, a Jesus, that had done for me as he had done; 'and yet then I had almost none others, but such blasphemous ones.'

33 Bunyan, in his treatise on 'Jesus Christ the Advocate,' admirably shows the analogy between the year of jubilee and the Christian's reversion to his inheritance, although deprived for a time of the comfort of it during his pilgrimage, by reason of sin.—Ed.

135. But it was neither my dislike of the thought, nor yet any desire and endeavour to resist it that in the least did shake or abate the continuation, or force and strength thereof; for it did always, in almost whatever I thought, intermix itself therewith in such sort that I could neither eat my food, stoop for a pin, chop a stick, or cast mine eye to look on this or that, but still the temptation would come, Sell Christ for this, or sell Christ for that; 'sell him, sell him.'

136. Sometimes it would run in my thoughts, not so little as a hundred times together, Sell him, sell him, sell him; against which I may say, for whole hours together, I have been forced to stand as continually leaning and forcing my spirit against it, least haply, before I were aware, some wicked thought might arise in my heart that might consent thereto; and sometimes also the tempter would make me believe I had consented to it, then should I be as tortured upon a rack for whole days together.

137. This temptation did put me to such scares, lest I should and some times, I say, consent thereto, and be overcome therewith, that by the very force of my mind, in labouring to gainsay and resist this wickedness, my very body also would be put into action or motion by way of pushing or thrusting 'with my hands or elbows,' still answering as fast as the destroyer said, Sell him; I will not, I will not, I will not, I will not; no, not for thousands, thousands, thousands of worlds. Thus reckoning lest I should in the midst of these assaults, set too low a value of him, even until I scarce well knew where I was, or how to be composed began.

138. 'At these seasons he would not let me eat my food at quiet; but, forsooth, when I was set at table at my meat, I must go hence to pray; I must leave my food now, and just now, so counterfeit holy also would this devil be. When I was thus tempted, I should say in myself, Now I am at my meat, let me make an end. No, said he, you must do it now, or you will displease God, and despised Christ. Wherefore I was much afflicted with these things; and because of the sinfulness of my nature, imagining that these things were impulses from God, I should deny to do it, as if I denied God; and then should I be as guilty, because I did not obey a temptation of the devil, as if I had broken the law of God indeed.'

139. But to be brief, one morning, as I did lie in my bed, I was, as at other times, most fiercely assaulted with this temptation, to sell and part with Christ; the wicked suggestion still running in my mind, sell him, sell him, sell him, sell him, ' sell him,' as fast as a man could speak; against which also, in my mind, as and other times, I answered, No, no, not for thousands, thousands, thousands, at least twenty times together. But at last, after much striving, even until I was almost out of breath, I felt this thought pass through my heart, Let him go, if he will! and I thought also, that I felt my heart ' freely' consent thereto. 'Oh, the diligence of Satan!34 Oh, the desperateness of man's heart!'

34 He is a restless, powerful, and malicious enemy; ever striving to drive the sinner to desperation. Let the tempted look to Jesus the serpent-bruiser to shield him, so that the fiery darts of the wicked one may be quenched.—Mason.

140. Now was the battle won, and down fell I, as a bird that is shot from the top of a tree, into great guilt, and fearful despair. Thus getting out of my bed, I went moping into the field; but God knows, with as heavy a heart as mortal man, I think, could bear; where, for the space of two hours, I was like a man bereft of life, and as now past all recovery, and bound over to eternal punishment.

141. And withal, that scripture did seize upon my soul, "Or profane person, as Esau, who for one morsel of meat, sold his birthright; for ye know, how that afterward, when he would have inherited the blessing, he was rejected; for he found no place of repentance, so he sought it carefully with tears”(Heb 12:16-17).

142. 'Now was I as one bound, I felt myself shut out unto the judgment to come; nothing now for two years together would abide with me, but damnation, and an expectation of damnation; I say, nothing now would abide with me but this, save some few moments for relief, as in the sequel you will see.'

143. These words were to my soul like fetters of brass to my legs, in the continual sound of which I went for several months together. But about ten or eleven o'clock one day, as I was walking under a hedge, full of sorrow in guilt, God knows, and bemoaning myself for this hard hap, that such a thought should arise within me; suddenly this sentence bolted in upon me, The blood of Christ remits all guilt. At this I made a stand in my spirit; with that, this word took hold upon me, begin, "The blood of Jesus Christ, his Son, cleanseth us from all sin”(1Jo 1:7).

144. Now I began to conceive peace in my soul, in methought I saw as if the tempter did leer35 and steal away from me, as being ashamed of what he had done. At the same time also I had my sin, and the blood of Christ thus represented to me, that my sin, when compared to the blood of Christ, was no more to it, then this little clot or stone before me, is to this vast and wide field that here I see. This gave me good encouragement for the space of two or three hours; in which time also, methought I saw, by faith, the Son of God, as suffering for my sins; but because it tarried not, I therefore sunk in my spirit, under exceeding guilt again.

35 Printed 'did hear' in first edition.—Ed.

145. 'But chiefly by the afore-mentioned scripture, concerning Esau's selling of his birthright; for that scripture would lie all day long, all the week long, yea, all the year long in my mind, and hold me down, so that I could by no means lift up myself; for when I would strive to turn me to this scripture, or that, for relief, still that sentence would be sounding in me, "For ye know, how that afterward, when he would have inherited the blessing - he found no place of repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears."'

146. Sometimes also,36 I should have a touch from that in Lu 22:32, "I have prayed for the, that thy faith fail not"; but it would not abide upon me; neither could I indeed, when I considered my state, find ground to conceive in the least, that there should be the root of that grace within me, having sinned as I had done. Now was I tore and rent in heavy case, for many days together.

36 Altered to 'indeed' in later editions.—Ed.

147. Then began I with sad and careful heart, to consider of the nature and largeness of my sin, and to search in the Word of God, if I could in any place espy a word of promise, or any encouraging sentence by which I might take relief. Wherefore I began to consider that third of Mark, All manner of sins and blasphemies shall be forgiven unto the sons of men, wherewith soever they shall blaspheme. Which place, methought, at a blush, did contain a large and glorious promise, for the pardon of high offences; but considering the place more fully, I thought it was rather to be understood as relating more chiefly to those who had, while in a natural estate, committed such things as there are mentioned; but not to me, who had not only received light and mercy, but that had, both after, and also contrary to that, so slighted Christ as I had done.

148. I feared therefore that this wicked sin of mine, might be that sin unpardonable, of which he there thus speaketh. "But he they shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost hath never forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal damnation”(Mr 3:29). And I did the rather give credit to this, because of that sentence in the Hebrews common "For ye know, how that afterward, when he would have inherited the blessing, he was rejected; for he found no place of repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears.”'And this stuck always with me.'

149. 'And now was I both the burden and a terror to myself, nor did I ever so know, as now, what it was to be weary of my life, and yet afraid to die. Oh, how gladly now would I have been anybody but myself! Anything but a man! and in any condition but mine own! for there was nothing did pass more frequently over my mind, than that it was impossible for me to be forgiven my transgression, and to be saved from wrath to come.'

150. And now began I to labour to call again time that was past; wishing a thousand times twice told, that the day was yet to come, when I should be tempted to such a sin! concluding with great indignation, both against my heart, and all assaults, how I would rather have been torn in pieces, than found a consenter thereto. But, alas! these thoughts, and wishings, and resolvings, were now too late to help me; the thought had passed my heart, God hath let me go, and I am fallen. Oh! thought I, "that it was with me as in months past, as in the days when God preserved me!”[Job 29:2]

151. Then again, being loath and unwilling to perish, I began to compare my sin with others, to see if I could find that any of those that were saved had done as I had done. So I considered David's adultery and murder, and found them most heinous crimes; and those too committed after light and grace received; but yet but considering, I perceived that his transgressions were only such as were against the law of Moses; from which the Lord Christ could, with the consent of his Word, deliver him: but mine was against the gospel; yea, against the Mediator thereof; 'I had sold my Saviour.'

152. Now again should I be as if racked upon the wheel,37 when I considered, that, besides the guilt that possessed me, I should be so void of grace, so bewitched. What, thought I, must it be no sin but this? Must it needs be the great transgression? (Ps 19:13) Must that wicked one touch my soul? (1Jo 5:18) Oh, what stings did I find in all these sentences!

37 'Racked or broken upon the wheel,' was a horrid mode of torturing a criminal to death, formerly used in France. The sufferer was stretched and made fast upon a large wheel, when the executioner, with a heavy iron bar, proceeded to break every bone in his body; beginning with the toes and fingers, and proceeding to crush those bones that the least affected life, and ending by crushing the skull into the brains. How piercing must have been the convictions of sin upon Bunyan's soul, to have led him to such a simile!—Ed.

153. 'What, thought I, is there but one sin that is unpardonable? But one sin that layeth the soul without the reach of God's mercy; and must I be guilty of that? Must it needs be that? Is there but one sin among so many millions of sins, for which there is no forgiveness; and must I commit this? Oh, unhappy sin! Oh, unhappy man! These things would so break and confound my spirit, that I could not tell what to do; I thought, at times, they would have broke my wits; and still, to aggravate my misery, that would run in my mind, "Ye know how that afterward, when he would have inherited the blessing, he was rejected.”Oh! none knows the terrors of those days but myself.'

154. After this I came to consider of Peter's sin, which he committed in denying his master; and indeed, this came nighest to mine, of any that I could find; for he had denied his Saviour, as I, and that after light and mercy received; yea, and that too, after warning given him. I also considered, that he did both once and twice; and that, after time to consider betwixt. But though I put all these circumstances together, that, if possible, I might find help, yet I considered again, that his was but a denial of his master, but mine was a selling of my Saviour. Wherefore I thought with myself, that I came nearer to Judas, than either to David or Peter.

155. Here again my torment would flame out and afflicte me; yea, it would grind me, as it were, to powder, to discern the preservation of God towards others, while I fell into the snare; for in my thus considering of other men's sins, and comparing of them with my own, I could evidently see how God preserved them, notwithstanding their wickedness, and would not let them, as he had let me, to become a son of perdition.

156. But oh, how did my soul, at this time, prize the preservation that God did set about his people! Ah, how safely did I see them walk, whom God had hedge in! They were within his care, protection, and special providence; though they were full as bad as I by nature; yet because he loved them, he would not suffer them to fall without the range of mercy; but as for me, I was gone, I had done it; he would not preserve me, nor keep me; but suffered me, because I was a reprobate, to fall as I had done. Now, did those blessed places, that spake of God's keeping his people, shine like the sun before me, though not to comfort me, but to show me the blessed state and heritage of those whom the Lord had blessed.

157. 'Now I saw, that as God had his hand in all providences and dispensations that overtook his elect, so he had his hand in all the temptations that they had to sin against him, not to animate them unto wickedness, but to choose their temptations and troubles for them; and also to leave them, for a time, to such sins only as might not destroy, but humble them; as might not put them beyond, but lay them in the way off the renewing of his mercy. But oh, what love, what care, what kindness and mercy did I now see, mixing itself with the most severe and dreadful of all God's ways to his people! He would let David, Hezekiah, Solomon, Peter, and others fall, but he would not let them fall into sin unpardonable, nor into hell for sin. Oh! thought I, these be the men that God hath loved; these be the men that God, though he chastiseth them, keeps them in safety by him, and them whom he makes to abide under the shadow of the Almighty. But all these thoughts added sorrow, grief, and horror to me, as whatever I now thought on, it was killing to me. If I thought how God kept his own, that was killing to me. If I thought of how I was falling myself, that was killing to me. As all things wrought together for the best, and to do good to them that were the called, according to his purpose; so I thought that all things wrought for my damage, and for my eternal overthrow.'

158. Then, again, I began to compare my sin with the sin of Judas, that, if possible, I might find that mine differed from that which, in truth, is unpardonable. And, oh! thought I, if it `should differ from it,' though but the breadth of an hair, what a happy condition is my soul in! And, by considering, I found that Judas did his intentionally, but mine was against my `prayer and' strivings; besides, his was committed with much deliberation, but mine in a fearful hurry, on a sudden; 'all this while' I was tossed to and fro, like the locusts, and driven from trouble to sorrow; hearing always the sound of Esau's fall in mine ears, and of the dreadful consequences thereof.

159. Yet this consideration about Judas, his sin was, for a while, some little relief unto me; for I saw I had not, as to the circumstances, transgressed so foully as he. But this was quickly gone again, for, I thought with myself, there might be more ways than one to commit the unpardonable sin; 'also I thought' that there might be degrees of that, as well as of other transgressions; wherefore, for ought I yet could perceive, this iniquity of mine might be such, as might never be passed by.

160. 'I was often now ashamed, that I should be like such an ugly man as Judas; I thought, also, how loathsome I should be unto all the saints at the day of judgment; insomuch, that now I could scarce see a good man, that I believed had a good conscience, but I should feel my heart tremble at him, while I was in his presence. Oh! now I saw a glory in walking with God, and what a mercy it was to have a good conscience before him.'

161. 'I was much about this time tempted to content myself, by receiving some false opinion; as that there should be no such thing as a day of judgment, that we should not rise again, and that sin was no such grievous thing; the tempter suggesting thus, For if these things should indeed be true, yet to believe otherwise, would yield you ease for the present. If you must perish, never torment yourself so much before hand; drive the thoughts of damning out of your mind, by possessing your mind with some such conclusions that Atheists and Ranters do use to help themselves withal.'

162. 'But, oh! when such thoughts have led through my heart, how, as it were, within a step, hath death and judgment been in my view! Methought the judge stood at the door, I was as if it was come already; so that such things could have no entertainment. But, methinks, I see by this, that Satan will use any means to keep the soul from Christ; he loveth not an awakened frame of spirit; security, blindness, darkness, and error is the very kingdom and habitation of the wicked one.'

163. 'I found it hard work now to pray to God, because despair was swallowing me up; I thought I was, as with a tempest, driven away from God, for always when I cried to God for mercy, this would come in, It is too late, I am lost, God hath let me fall; not to my correction, but condemnation; my sin is unpardonable; and I know, concerning Esau, how that, after he had sold his birthright, he would have received the blessing, but was rejected. About this time, I did light on that dreadful story of that miserable mortal, Francis Spira;38 a book that was to my troubled spirit as salt, when rubbed into a fresh wound; every sentence in that book, every groan of that man, with all the rest of his actions in his dolours, as his tears, his prayers, his gnashing of teeth, his wringing of hands, his twining and twisting, languishing and pining away under that mighty hand of God that was upon him, was as knives and daggers in my soul; especially that sentence of his was frightful to me, Man knows the beginning of sin, but who bounds the issues thereof? Then would the former sentence, as the conclusion of all, fall like a hot thunderbolt again upon my conscience; "for you know how that afterward, when he would have inherited the blessing, he was rejected; for he found no place of repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears. “'

38 'A Relation of the Fearful Estate of Francis Spira.'

`Here see a soul that's all despair; a man
All hell; a spirit all wounds.
Reader, would'st see what may you never feel,
Despair, racks, torments, whips of burning steel?
Behold this man, this furnace, in whose heart,
Sin hath created hell.'

From the address to the reader, in a copy of this awful narrative in possession of the Editor. Spira was filled with remorse and despair for having been induced, by improper motives, to become a papist.—Ed.

164. Then was I struck into a very great trembling, insomuch that at sometimes I could, for whole days together, feel my very body, as well as my mind, to shake and totter under the sense of the dreadful judgment of God, that should fall on those that have sinned that most fearful and unpardonable sin. I felt also such a clogging and heat at my stomach, by reason of this my terror, that I was, especially at some times, as if my breast bone would have split in sunder; then I thought of that concerning Judas, who, by his falling headlong, burst asunder, and all his bowels gushed out (Ac 1:18).

165. I feared also that this was the mark that the Lord did set on Cain, even continual fear and trembling, under the heavy load of guilt that he had charged on him for the blood of his brother Abel. Thus did I wind, and twine, and shrink, under the burden that was upon me; which burden also did so oppress me, that I could neither stand, nor go, nor lie, either at rest or quiet.

166. Yet that saying would sometimes come to my mind, He hath received gifts for the rebellious (Ps 68:18). "The rebellious,”thought I; why, surely they are such as once were under subjection to their prince, even those who, after they have sworn subjection to his government, have taken up arms against him; 'and this, thought I, is my very condition; once I loved him, feared him, served him; but now I am a rebel; I have sold him, I have said, Let him go if he will; but yet he has gifts for rebels, and then why not for me?'

167. This sometimes I thought on, and should labour to take hold thereof, that some, though small, refreshment might have been conceived by me; but in this also I missed of my desire, I was driven with force beyond it, 'I was' like a man that is going to the place of execution, even by that place where he would fain creep in and hide himself, but may not.

168. Again, after I had thus considered the sins of the saints in particular, and found mine went beyond them, then I began to think thus with myself: Set the case I should put all theirs together, and mine alone against them, might I not then find some encouragement? For if mine, though bigger than any one, yet should but be equal to all, then there is hopes; for that blood that hath virtue enough 'in it' to wash away all theirs, hath also virtue enough in it to do away mine, though this one be full as big, if no bigger, than all theirs. Here, again, I should consider the sin of David, of Solomon, of Manasseh, of Peter, and the rest of the great offenders; and should also labour, what I might with fairness, to aggravate and heighten their sins by several circumstances: but, alas! It was all in vain.39

39 No Christian minister ever dwelt more richly on the `Saint's Knowledge of Christ's Love' than Bunyan. See vol. ii. p. 1. It was the result of this soul-harrowing experience. He there shows its heights exceeding the highest heavens, depths below the deepest hell, lengths and breadths beyond comprehension. That treatise ought to be read and cherished by every trembling believer.—Ed.

169. 'I should think with myself that David shed blood to cover his adultery, and that by the sword of the children of Ammon; a work that could not be done but by continuance and deliberate contrivance, which was a great aggravation to his sin. But then this would turn upon me: Ah! but these were but sins against the law, from which there was a Jesus sent to save them; but yours is a sin against the Saviour, and who shall save you from that?'

170. 'Then I thought on Solomon, and how he sinned in loving strange women, in falling away to their idols, in building them temples, in doing this after light, in his old age, after great mercy received; but the same conclusion that cut me off in the former consideration, cut me off as to this; namely, that all those were but sins against the law, for which God had provided a remedy; but I had sold my Saviour, and there now remained no more sacrifice for sin.'

171. 'I would then add to those men's sins, the sins of Manasseh, how that he built altars for idols in the house of the Lord; he also observed times, used enchantment, had to do with wizards, was a wizard, had his familiar spirits, burned his children in the fire in sacrifice to devils, and made the streets of Jerusalem run down with the blood of innocents. These, thought I, are great sins, sins of a bloody colour; yea, it would turn again upon me: They are none of them of the nature of yours; you have parted with Jesus, you have sold your Saviour.'

172. This one consideration would always kill my heart, My sin was point blank against my Saviour; and that too, at that height, that I had in my heart said of him, Let him go if he will. Oh! methought, this sin was bigger than the sins of a country, of a kingdom, or of the whole world, no one pardonable, nor all of them together, was able to equal mine; mine outwent them every one.

173. Now I should find my mind to flee from God, as from the face of a dreadful judge; yet this was my torment, I could not escape his hand: "It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God”(Heb 10:31). But blessed be his grace, that scripture, in these flying sins,40 would call as running after me, "I have blotted out, as a thick cloud, thy transgressions; and, as a cloud, thy sins: return unto me, for I have redeemed thee”(Isa 44:22). This, I say, would come in upon my mind, when I was fleeing from the face of God; for I did flee from his face, that is, my mind and spirit fled before him; by reason of his highness, I could not endure; then would the text cry, "Return unto me"; it would cry aloud with a very great voice, "Return unto me, for I have redeemed thee.”Indeed, this would make me make a little stop, and, as it were, look over my shoulder behind me, to see if I could discern that the God of grace did follow me with a pardon in his hand, but I could no sooner do that, but all would be clouded and darkened again by that sentence, "For you know how that afterwards, when he would have inherited the blessing, he found no place of repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears.”Wherefore I could not return, but fled, though at sometimes it cried, "Return, return,”as if it did holloa after me. But I feared to close in therewith, lest it should not come from God; for that other, as I said, was still sounding in my conscience, "For you know how that afterwards, when he would have inherited the blessing, he was rejected,”&c.

40 Alter, in later editions, to 'flying fits.'—Ed.

174. 'Once as I was walking to and fro in a good man's shop, bemoaning of myself in my sad and doleful state, afflicting myself with self-abhorrence for this wicked and ungodly thought; lamenting, also, this hard hap of mine, for that I should commit so great a sin, greatly fearing I should not be pardoned; praying, also, in my heart, that if this sin of mine did differ from that against the Holy Ghost, the Lord would show it me. And being now ready to sink with fear, suddenly there was, as if there had rushed in at the window, the noise of wind upon me, but very pleasant, and as if I heard a voice speaking, Didst ever refuse to be justified by the blood of Christ? And, withal my whole life and profession past was, in a moment, opened to me, wherein I was made to see that designedly I had not; so my heart answered groaningly, No. then fell, with power, that word of God upon me, "See that ye refuse not him that speaketh”(Heb 12:25). This made a strange seizure upon my spirit; it brought light with it, and commanded a silence in my heart of all those tumultuous thoughts that before did use, like masterless hell-hounds, to roar and bellow, and make a hideous noise within me. It showed me, also, that Jesus Christ had yet a word of grace and mercy for me, that he had not, as I had feared, quite forsaken and cast off my soul; yea, this was a kind of a chide for my proneness to desperation; a kind of a threatening me if I did not, notwithstanding my sins and the heinousness of them, venture my salvation upon the Son of God. But as to my determining about this strange dispensation, what it was I knew not; or from whence it came I know not. I have not yet, in twenty years' time, been able to make a judgment of it; I thought then what here I shall be loath to speak. But verily, that sudden rushing wind was as if an angel had come upon me; but both it and the salvation I will leave until the day of judgment; only this I say, it commanded a great calm in my soul, it persuaded me there might be hope; it showed me, as I thought, what the sin unpardonable was, and that my soul had yet the blessed privilege to flee to Jesus Christ for mercy. But, I say, concerning this dispensation, I know not what yet to say unto it; which was, also, in truth, the cause that, at first, I did not speak of it in the book; I do now, also, leave it to be thought on by men of sound judgment. I lay not the stress of my salvation thereupon, but upon the Lord Jesus, in the promise; yet, seeing I am here unfolding of my secret things, I thought it might not be altogether inexpedient to let this also show itself, though I cannot now relate the matter as there I did experience it. This lasted, in the savour of it, for about three or four days, and the I began to mistrust and to despair again.'41

41 Internal conflicts, dreams, or visions ought not to be the source of peace or of bitterness to the soul. If they drive us to Christ, we may hope that they are from heaven for our relief; but if their tendency is to despair, by undervaluing the blood of atonement, or to lasciviousness, they are from Satan. Our real dependence must be upon 'a more sure word of prophecy': if we are well-grounded in the promises, it will save us from many harassing doubts and fears which arise from a reliance upon our feelings.—Ed.

175. 'Wherefore, still my life hung in doubt before me, not knowing which way I should tip; only this I found my soul desire, even to cast itself at the foot of grace, by prayer and supplication. But, oh! it was hard for me now to bear the face to pray to this Christ for mercy, against whom I had thus most vilely sinned; it was hard work, I say, to offer to look him in the face against whom I had so vilely sinned; and, indeed, I have found it as difficult to come to God by prayer, after backsliding from him, as to do any other thing. Oh, the shame that did now attend me! especially when I thought I am now a-going to pray to him for mercy that I had so lightly esteemed but a while before! I was ashamed, yea, even confounded, because this villany had been committed by me; but I saw there was but one way with me, I must go to him and humble myself unto him, and beg that he, of his wonderful mercy, would show pity to me, and have mercy upon my wretched sinful soul.'

176. 'Which, when the tempter perceived, he strongly suggested to me, That I ought not to pray to God; for prayer was not for any in my case, neither could it do me good, because I had rejected the Mediator, by whom all prayer came with acceptance to God the Father, and without whom no prayer could come into his presence. Wherefore, now to pray is but to add sin to sin; yea, now to pray, seeing God has cast you off, is the next way to anger and offend him more than you ever did before.'

177. 'For God, saith he, hath been weary of you for these several years already, because you are none of his; your bawlings in his ears hath been no pleasant voice to him; and, therefore, he let you sin this sin, that you might be quite cut off; and will you pray still? This the devil urged, and set forth that, in Numbers, when Moses said to the children of Israel, That because they would not go up to posses the land when God would have them, therefore, for ever after, God did bar them out from thence, though they prayed they might, with tears (Nu 14:36-37), &c.'

178. 'As it is said in another place (Ex 21:14), the man that sins presumptuously shall be taken from God's altar, that he may die; even as Joab was by King Solomon, when he thought to find shelter there (1Ki 2:28), &c. These places did pinch me very sore; yet, my case being desperate, I thought with myself I can but die; and if it must be so, it shall once be said, that such an one died at the foot of Christ in prayer.42 This I did, but with great difficulty, God Both know; and that because, together with this, still that saying about Esau would be set at my heart, even like a flaming sword, to keep the way of the tree of life, lest I should taste thereof and live. Oh! who knows how hard a thing I found it to come to God in prayer.'

42 That a poor penitent should perish at the feet of Jesus is an utter impossibility. God, when manifest in the flesh, decreed, that 'Whosoever cometh unto me, I will in no wise cast out.' I will give him rest.' His Word must stand fast for ever.—Ed.

179. 'I did also desire the prayers of the people of God for me, but I feared that God would give them no heart to do it; yea, I trembled in my soul to think that some or other of them would shortly tell me, that God had said those words to them that he once did say to the prophet concerning the children of Israel, "Pray not thou for this people,”for I have rejected them (Jer 11:14). So, pray not for him, for I have rejected him. Yea, I thought that he had whispered this to some of them already, only they durst not tell me so, neither durst I ask them of it, for fear, if it should be so, it would make me quite besides myself. Man knows the beginning of sin, said Spira, but who bounds the issues thereof?'

180. About this time I took an opportunity to break my mind to an ancient Christian, and told him all my case; I told him, also, that I was afraid that I had sinned the sin against the Holy Ghost; and he told me he thought so too. Here, therefore, I had but cold comfort; but, talking a little more with him, I found him, though a good man, a stranger to much combat with the devil. Wherefore, I went to God again, as well as I could, for mercy still.

181. Now, also, did the tempter begin to mock me in my misery, saying, that, seeing I had thus parted with the Lord Jesus, and provoked him to displeasure, who would have stood between my soul and the flame of devouring fire, there was now but one way, and that was, to pray that God the Father would be the Mediator betwixt his Son and me, that we might be reconciled again, and that I might have that blessed benefit in him that his blessed saints enjoyed.

182. Then did that scripture seize upon my soul, He is of one mind, and who can turn him? Oh! I saw it was as easy to persuade him to make a new world, a new covenant, or new Bible, besides that we have already, as to pray for such a thing. This was to persuade him that what he had done already was mere folly, and persuade with him to alter, yea, to disannul, the whole way of salvation; and then would that saying rend my soul asunder, "Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven, given among men, whereby we must be saved”(Ac 4:12).

183. 'Now, the most free, and full, and gracious words of the gospel were the greatest torment to me; yea, nothing so afflicted me as the thoughts of Jesus Christ, the remembrance of a Saviour; because I had cast him off, brought forth the villany of my sin, and my loss by it to mind; nothing did twinge my conscience like this. Every time that I thought of the Lord Jesus, of his grace, love, goodness, kindness, gentleness, meekness, death, blood, promises and blessed exhortations, comforts and consolations, it went to my soul like a sword; for still, unto these my considerations of the Lord Jesus, these thoughts would make place for themselves in my heart; aye, this is the Jesus, the loving Saviour, the Son of God, whom thou hast parted with, whom you slighted, despised, and abused. This is the only Saviour, the only Redeemer, the only one that could so love sinners as to wash them from their sins in his own most precious blood; but you have no part nor lot in this Jesus, you have put him from you, you have said in your heart, Let him go if he will. Now, therefore, you are severed from him; you have severed yourself from him. Behold, then, his goodness, but yourself to be no partaker of it. Oh, thought I, what have I lost! What have I parted with! What have I disinherited my poor soul of! Oh! it is sad to be destroyed by the grace and mercy of God; to have the Lamb, the Saviour, turn lion and destroyer (Re 6).43 I also trembled, as I have said, at the sight of the saints of God, especially at those that greatly loved him, and that made it their business to walk continually with him in this world; for they did, both in their words, their carriages, and all their expressions of tenderness and fear to sin against their precious Saviour, condemn, lay guilt upon, and also add continual affliction and shame unto my soul. The dread of them was upon me, and I trembled at God's Samuels (1Sa 16:4).'

43 How soul-rending a thought! but it can only be the case with those who continue to their death despising the Saviour. Those who love him are kept by almighty power, everlasting love, and irresistible grace.—Ed.

184. Now, also, the tempter began afresh to mock my soul another way, saying that Christ, indeed, did pity my case, and was sorry for my loss; but forasmuch as I had sinned and transgressed, as I had done, he could by no means help me, nor save me from what I feared; for my sin was not of the nature of theirs for whom he bled and died, neither was it counted with those that were laid to his charge when he hanged on the tree. Therefore, unless he should come down from heaven and die anew for this sin, though, indeed, he did greatly pity me, yet I could have no benefit of him. These things may seem ridiculous to others, even as ridiculous as they were in themselves, but to me they were most tormenting cogitations; every of them augmented my misery, that Jesus Christ should have so much love as to pity me when he could not help me; nor did I think that the reason why he could not help me was because his merits were weak, or his grace and salvation spent on them already, but because his faithfulness to his threatening would not let him extend his mercy to me. Besides, I thought, as I have already hinted, that my sin was not within the bounds of that pardon that was wrapped up in a promise; and if not, then I knew assuredly, that it was more easy for heaven and earth to pass away than for me to have eternal life. So that the ground of all these fears of mine did arise from a steadfast belief that I had of the stability of the holy Word of God, and also, from my being misinformed of the nature of my sin.

185. But, oh! how this would add to my affliction, to conceit that I should be guilty of such a sin for which he did not die. These thoughts would so confound me, and imprison me, and tie me up from faith, that I knew not what to do; but, oh! thought I, that he would come down again! Oh! that the work of man's redemption was yet to be done by Christ! How would I pray him and entreat him to count and reckon this sin amongst the rest for which he died! But this scripture would strike me down as dead, "Christ being raised from the death dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him”(Ro 6:9).44

44. Happy would it be for tempted souls, in their distress, to look simply to the declarations and promises of God in the Word; we there find salvation completed by Christ. Our duty is to look in faith and prayer to the Spirit of God for the application and comfort of it.—Mason.

186. Thus, by the strange and unusual assaults of the tempter, was my soul, like a broken vessel, driven as with the winds, and tossed sometimes headlong into despair, sometimes upon the covenant of works, and sometimes to wish that the new covenant, and the conditions thereof, might, so far forth as I thought myself concerned, be turned another way and changed. But in all these I was but as those that justle against the rocks; more broken, scattered, and rent. Oh, the unthought of imaginations, frights, fears, and terrors that are affected by a thorough application of guilt, yielded to desperation! This is the man that hath "his dwelling among the tombs”with the dead; that is, always crying out and "cutting himself with stones”(Mr 5:2-5). But I say, all in vain; desperation will not comfort him, the old covenant will not save him; nay, heaven and earth shall pass away before one jot or tittle of the Word and law of grace shall fall or be removed. This I saw, this I felt, and under this I groaned; yet this advantage I got thereby, namely, a farther confirmation of the certainty of the way of salvation, and that the Scriptures were the Word of God! Oh! I cannot now express what then I saw and felt of the steadiness of Jesus Christ, the rock of man's salvation; what was done could not be undone, added to, nor altered. I saw, indeed, that sin might drive the soul beyond Christ, even the sin which is unpardonable; but woe to him that was so driven, for the Word would shut him out.

187. Thus was I always sinking, whatever I did think or do. So one day I walked to a neighbouring town, and sat down upon a settle in the street, and fell into a very deep pause about the most fearful state my sin had brought me to; and, after long musing, I lifted up my head, but methought I saw as if the sun that shineth in the heavens did grudge to give light, and as if the very stones in the street, and tiles upon the houses, did bend themselves against me; methought that they all combined together to banish me out of the world; I was abhorred of them, and unfit to dwell among them, or be partaker of their benefits, because I had sinned against the Saviour. 0 how happy, now, was every creature over [what] I was; for they stood fast and kept their station, but I was gone and lost.

188. Then breaking out in the bitterness of my soul, I said 'to myself,' with a grievous sigh, How can God comfort such a wretch as I? I had no sooner said it but this returned upon me, as an echo Both answer a voice, This sin is not unto death. At which I was as if I had been raised out of a grave, and cried out again, Lord, how couldest thou find out such a word as this? for I was filled with admiration at the fitness, and, also, at the unexpectedness of the sentence, `the fitness of the Word, the rightness of the timing of it, the power, and sweetness, and light, and glory that came with it, also, was marvelous to me to find. I was now, for the time, out of doubt as to that about which I so much was in doubt before; my fears before were, that my sin was not pardonable, and so that I had no right to pray, to repent, &c., or that if I did, it would be of no advantage or profit to me. But now, thought I, if this sin is not unto death, then it is pardonable; therefore, from this I have encouragement to come to God, by Christ, for mercy, to consider the promise of forgiveness as that which stands with open arms to receive me, as well as others. This, therefore, was a great easement to my mind; to wit, that my sin was pardonable, that it was not the sin unto death (1Jo 5:16-17). None but those that know what my trouble, by their own experience, was, can tell what relief came to my soul by this consideration; it was a release to me from my former bonds, and a shelter from my former storm. I seemed now to stand upon the same ground with other sinners, and to have as good right to the Word and prayer as any of them.'45

45. However humbling, this is a truth not to be disputed. The wisest philosopher and most illiterate peasant are upon a level, fallen from God. None will be excluded who come to Christ, whose gracious invitation is general, 'Whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely' (Re 22:17).—Mason.

189. Now, 'I say,' I was in hopes that my sin was not unpardonable, but that there might be hopes for me to obtain forgiveness. But, oh, how Satan did now lay about him for to bring me down again! But he could by no means do it, neither this day nor the most part of the next, for this sentence stood like a mill post at my back; yet, towards the evening of the next day, I felt this word begin to leave me and to withdraw its supportation from me, and so I returned to my old fears again, but with a great deal of grudging and peevishness, for I feared the sorrow of despair; 'nor could my faith now longer retain this word.'

190. But the next day, at evening, being under many fears, I went to seek the Lord; and as I prayed, I cried, 'and my soul cried' to him in these words, with strong cries:--O Lord, I beseech thee, show me that thou hast loved me with everlasting love (Jer 31:3). I had no sooner said it but, with sweetness, this returned upon me, as an echo or sounding again, "I have loved thee with an everlasting love.”Now I went to bed at quiet; also, when I awaked the next morning, it was fresh upon my soul—'and I believed it.'

191. But yet the tempter left me not; for it could not be so little as an hundred times that he that day did labour to break my peace. Oh! the combats and conflicts that I did then meet with as I strove to hold by this word; that of Esau would fly in my face like to lightning. I should be sometimes up and down twenty times in an hour, yet God did bear me up and keep my heart upon this word, from which I had also, for several days together, very much sweetness and comfortable hopes of pardon; for thus it was made out to me, I loved thee whilst thou wast committing this sin, I loved thee before, I love thee still, and I will love thee for ever.

192. Yet I saw my sin most barbarous, and a filthy crime, and could not but conclude, and that with great shame and astonishment, that I had horribly abused the holy Son of God; wherefore I felt my soul greatly to love and pity him, and my bowels to yearn towards him; for I saw he was still my Friend, and did reward me good for evil; yea, the love and affection that then did burn within to my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ did work, at this time, such a strong and hot desire of revengement upon myself for the abuse I had done unto him, that, to speak as then I thought, had I had a thousand gallons of blood within my veins, I could freely 'then' have spilt it all at the command and feet of this my Lord and Saviour.

193. And as I was thus in musing and in my studies, 'considering' how to love the Lord and to express my love to him, that saying came in upon me, "If thou, Lord, shouldest mark iniquities, 0 Lord, who shall stand? But there is forgiveness with thee, that thou mayest be feared”(Ps 130:3-4). These were good words to me,46 especially the latter part thereof; to wit, that there is forgiveness with the Lord, that he might be feared; that is, as then I understood it, that he might be loved and had in reverence; for it was thus made out to me, that the great God did set so high an esteem upon the love of his poor creatures, that rather than he would go without their love he would pardon their transgressions.

46 This is the proper source of comfort—the records of infallible truth. There is found mercy for the miserable, redemption for the captive, salvation for the lost, heaven for the hell-deserving sinner.—Mason.

194. And now was that word fulfilled on me, and I was also refreshed by it, Then shall they be ashamed and confounded, "and never open their mouth any more because of their shame, when I am pacified toward them for all that they have done, saith the Lord God”(Eze 16:63). Thus was my soul at this time, and, as I then did think, for ever, set at liberty from being again afflicted with my former guilt and amazement.

195. But before many weeks were over I began to despond again, fearing lest, notwithstanding all that I had enjoyed, that yet I might be deceived and destroyed at the last; for this consideration came strong into my mind, that whatever comfort and peace I thought I might have from the Word of the promise of life, yet unless there could be found in my refreshment a concurrence and agreement in the Scriptures, let me think what I will thereof, and hold it never so fast, I should find no such thing at the end; "for the Scripture cannot be broken”(Joh 10:35).

196. Now began my heart again to ache and fear I might meet with disappointment at the last; wherefore I began, with all seriousness, to examine my former comfort, and to consider whether one that had sinned as I have done, might with confidence trust upon the faithfulness of God, laid down in those words by which I had been comforted and on which I had leaned myself. But now were brought those sayings to my mind, "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”(Heb 6:4-6). "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”(Heb 10:26-27). Even "as Esau, who, for one morsel of meat sold his birthright; for ye know how that afterward, when he would have inherited the blessing, he was rejected; for he found no place of repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears”(Heb 12:16-17).

197. Now was the word of the gospel forced from my soul, so that no promise or encouragement was to be found in the Bible for me; and now would that saying work upon my spirit to afflict me, "Rejoice not, 0 Israel, for joy as other people”(Ho 9:1). For I saw indeed there was cause of rejoicing for those that held to Jesus; but as for me, I had cut myself off by my transgressions, and left myself neither foot-hold, nor hand-hold, amongst all the stays and props in the precious word of life.

198. And truly I did now feel myself to sink into a gulf, as an house whose foundation is destroyed; I did liken myself, in this condition, unto the case of a child that was fallen into a mill-pit, who, though it could make some shift to scrabble and spraul in the water, yet because it could find neither hold for hand nor foot, therefore at last it must die in that condition. So soon as this fresh assault had fastened on my soul, that scripture came into my heart, "This is for many days”(Da 10:14). And indeed I found it was so; for I could not be delivered, nor brought to peace again, until well nigh two years and an half were completely finished. Wherefore these words, though in themselves they tended to discouragement, yet to me, who feared this condition would be eternal, they were at sometimes as an help and refreshment to me.

199. For, thought I, many days are not, not for ever, many days will have an end, therefore seeing I was to be afflicted, not a few, but many days, yet I was glad it was but for many days. Thus, I say, I could recall myself sometimes, and give myself a help, for as soon as ever the words came 'into my mind' at first, I knew my trouble would be long; yet this would be but sometimes, for I could not always think on this, nor ever be helped 'by it,' though I did.

200. Now, while these Scriptures lay before me, and laid sin 'anew' at my door, that saying in Lu 18, with others, did encourage me to prayer. Then the tempter again laid at me very sore, suggesting, That neither the mercy of God, nor yet the blood of Christ, did at all concern me, nor could they help me for my sin; `therefore it was in vain to pray.' Yet, thought I, I will pray. But, said the tempter, your sin is unpardonable. 'Well, said I, I will pray. It is to no boot, said he.' Yet, said I, I will pray. So I went to prayer to God; and while I was at prayer, I uttered words to this effect, Lord, Satan tells me that neither thy mercy, nor Christ's blood, is sufficient to save my soul; Lord, shall I honour thee most, by believing thou wilt and canst? or 'him,' by believing thou neither wilt nor canst? Lord, I would fain honour thee, by believing thou wilt and canst.

201. And as I was thus before the Lord, that scripture fastened on my heart, "0 [wo]man, great is thy faith”(Mt 15:28), even as if one had clapped me on the back, as I was on my knees before God. Yet I was not able to believe this, 'that this was a prayer of faith,' till almost six months after; for I could not think that I had faith, or that there should be a word for me to act faith on; therefore I should still be as sticking in the jaws of desperation, and went mourning up and down 'in a sad condition,' crying, Is his mercy clean gone? Is his mercy clean gone for ever? And I thought sometimes, even when I was groaning in these expressions, they did seem to make a question whether it was or no; yet I greatly feared it was.

202. 'There was nothing now that I longed for more than to be put out of doubt, as to this thing in question; and, as I was vehemently desiring to know if there was indeed hopes for me, these words came rolling into my mind, "Will the Lord cast off for ever? And will he be a favourable no more? Is his mercy clean gone for ever? Doth his promise fail for evermore? Hath God forgotten to be gracious? Hath he in anger shut up his tender mercies?”(Ps 77:7-9). And all the while they run in my mind, methought I had this still as the answer, It is a question whether he had or no; it may be he hath not. Yea, the interrogatory seemed to me to carry in it a sure affirmation that indeed he had not, nor would so cast off, but would be favourable; that his promise Both not fail, and that he had not forgotten to be gracious, nor would in anger shut up his tender mercy. Something, also, there was upon my heart at the same time, which I now cannot call to mind; which, with this text, did sweeten my heart, and made me conclude that his mercy might not be quite gone, nor clean gone for ever.'47

47 Though we may wait long for mercy, yet the hand of faith never knocked in vain at the door of heaven. Mercy is as surely ours as if we had it, if it be given us in faith and patience to wait for it.—Mason.

203. At another time, I remember I was again much under the question, Whether the blood of Christ was sufficient to save my soul? In which doubt I continued from morning till about seven or eight at night; and at last, when I was, as it were, quite worn out with fear, lest it should not lay hold on me, these words did sound suddenly within my heart, He is able. But methought this word ABLE was spoke so loud unto me; it showed such a great word, 'it seemed to be writ in great letters,' and gave such a justle to my fear and doubt, I mean for the time it tarried with me, which was about a day, as I never had from that all my life, either before or after that (Heb 7:25).

204. But one morning, when I was again at prayer, and trembling under the fear of this, that no word of God could help me, that piece of a sentence darted in upon me, "My grace is sufficient.”At this methought I felt some stay, as if there might be hopes. But, oh how good a thing it is for God to send his Word! For about a fortnight before I was looking on this very place, and then I thought it could not come near my soul with comfort, 'therefore' I threw down my book in a pet. 'Then I thought it was not large enough for me; no, not large enough'; but now, it was as if it had arms of grace so wide that it could not only enclose me, but many more besides.

205. By these words I was sustained, yet not without exceeding conflicts, for the space of seven or eight weeks; for my peace would be in and out, sometimes twenty times a day; comfort now, and trouble presently; peace now, and before I could go a furlong as full of fear and guilt as ever heart could hold; and this was not only now and then, but my whole seven weeks' experience; for this about the sufficiency of grace, and that of Esau's parting with his birthright, would be like a pair of scales within my mind, sometimes one end would be uppermost, and sometimes again the other; according to which would be my peace or trouble.

206. Therefore I still did pray to God, that he would come in with this Scripture more fully on my heart; to wit, that he would help me to apply the whole sentence, 'for as yet I could not: that he gave, I gathered; but further I could not go,' for as yet it only helped me to hope `there might be mercy for me,' "My grace is sufficient"; and though it came no farther, it answered my former question; to wit, that there was hope; yet, because "for thee”was left out, I was not contented, but prayed to God for that also. Wherefore, one day as I was in a meeting of God's people, full of sadness and terror, for my fears again were strong upon me; and as I was now thinking my soul was never the better, but my case most sad and fearful, these words did, with great power, suddenly break in upon me, "My grace is sufficient for thee, my grace is sufficient for thee, my grace is sufficient for thee,”three times together; and, oh! methought that every word as a mighty word unto me; as my, and grace, and sufficient, and for thee; they were then, and sometimes are still, far bigger than others be.

207. At which time my understanding was so enlightened, that I was as though I had seen the Lord Jesus look down from heaven through the tiles upon me, and direct these words unto me. This sent me mourning home, it broke my heart, and filled me full of joy, and laid me low as the dust; only it stayed not long with me, I mean in this glory and refreshing comfort, yet it continued with me for several weeks, and did encourage me to hope. But so soon as that powerful operation of it was taken off my heart, that other about Esau returned upon me as before; so my soul did hang as in a pair of scales again, sometimes up and sometimes down, now in peace, and anon again in terror.

208. Thus I went on for many weeks, sometimes comforted, and sometimes tormented; and, especially at some times, my torment would be very sore, for all those scriptures forenamed in the Hebrews, would be set before me, as the only sentences that would keep me out of heaven. Then, again, I should begin to repent that ever that thought went through me, I should also think thus with myself, Why, how many scriptures are there against me? There are but three or four: and cannot God miss them, and save me for all them? Sometimes, again, I should think, Oh! if it were not for these three or four words, now how might I be comforted? And I could hardly forbear, at some times, but to wish them out of the book.

209. Then methought I should see as if both Peter, and Paul, and John, and all the writers, did look with scorn upon me, and hold me in derision; and as if they said unto me, All our words are truth, one of as much force as another. It is not we that have cut you off, but you have cast away yourself; there is none of our sentences that you must take hold upon but these, and such as these: "It is impossible; there remains no more sacrifice for sin”(Heb 6). And "it had been better for them not to have known”the will of God, "than after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them”(2Pe 2:21). "For the Scriptures cannot be broken."48

48 To sin against light and knowledge, received in and by the gospel, is a very heinous aggravation of sin. The condition of persons simply ignorant is not so sad by far, as theirs who have been enlightened and yet afterwards apostatized. Let the formalist and lukewarm professors read this and tremble.—Mason.

210. 'These, as the elders of the city of refuge, I saw were to be the judges both of my case and me, while I stood, with the avenger of blood at my heels, trembling at their gate for deliverance, also with a thousand fears and mistrusts, I doubted that they would shut me out for ever (Jos 20:3-4).'

211. Thus was I confounded, not knowing what to do, nor how to be satisfied in this question, Whether the scriptures could agree in the salvation of my soul? I quaked at the apostles, I knew their words were true, and that they must stand for ever.

212. And I remember one day, as I was in diverse frames of spirit, and considering that these frames were still according to the nature of the several scriptures that came in upon my mind; if this of grace, then was I quiet; but if that of Esau, then tormented; Lord, thought I, if both these scriptures would meet in my heart at once, I wonder which of them would get the better of me. So methought I had a longing mind that they might come both together upon me; yea, I desired of God they might.

213. Well, about two or three days after, so they did indeed; they bolted both upon me at a time, and did work and struggle strangely in me for a while; at last, that about Esau's birthright began to wax weak, and withdraw, and vanish; and this about the sufficiency of grace prevailed with peace and joy. And as I was in a muse about this thing, that scripture came home upon me, "Mercy rejoiceth against judgment”(Jas 2:13).

214. This was a wonderment to me; yet truly I am apt to think it was of God; for the word of the law and wrath must give place to the word of life and grace; because, though the word of condemnation be glorious, yet the word of life and salvation Both far exceed in glory (2Co 3:8-12; Mr 9:5-7). Also, that Moses and Elias must both vanish, and leave Christ and his saints alone.

215. This scripture did also most sweetly visit my soul, "And him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out”(Joh 6:37). Oh, the comfort that I have had from this world, "in no wise"! as who should say, by no means, for no thing, whatever he hath done. But Satan would greatly labour to pull this promise from me, telling of me that Christ did not mean me, and such as I, but sinners of a lower rank, that had not done as I had done. But I should answer him again, Satan, here is in this word no such exception; but "him that comes,”HIM, any him; "him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.”And this I well remember still, that of all the sleights that Satan used to take this scripture from me, yet he never did so much as put this question, But do you come aright? And I have thought the reason was, because he thought I knew full well what coming aright was; for I saw that to come aright was to come as I was, a vile and ungodly sinner, and to cast myself at the feet of mercy, condemning myself for sin. If ever Satan and I did strive for any word 'of God in all my life, it was for this good word of Christ; he at one end and I at the other. Oh, what work did we make!' It was for this in John, 'I say, that we did so tug and strive'; he pulled and I pulled; but, God be praised, 'I got the better of him,' I got some sweetness from it.

216. But, notwithstanding all these helps and blessed words of grace, yet that of Esau's selling of his birthright would still at times distress my conscience; for though I had been most sweetly comforted, and that but just before, yet when that came into 'my' mind, it would make me fear again, I could not be quite rid thereof, it would every day be with me: wherefore now I went another way to work, even to consider the nature of this blasphemous thought; I mean, if I should take the words at the largest, and give them their own natural force and scope, even every word therein. So when I had thus considered, I found, that if they were fairly taken, they would amount to this, that I had freely left the Lord Jesus Christ to his choice, whether he would be my Saviour or no; for the wicked words were these, Let him go if he will. Then that scripture gave me hope, "I will never leave thee nor forsake thee”(Heb 13:5). 0 Lord, said I, but I have left thee. Then it answered again, "But I will not leave thee.”For this I thank God also.

217. Yet I was grievously afraid he should, and found it exceeding hard to trust him, seeing I had so offended him. I could have been exceeding glad that this thought had never befallen, for then I thought I could, with more ease and freedom abundance, have leaned upon his grace. I see it was with me, as it was with Joseph's brethren; the guilt of their own wickedness did often fill them with fears that their brother would at last despise them (Ge 50:15-17).

218. But above all the scriptures that I yet did meet with, that in the twentieth of Joshua was the greatest comfort to me, which speaks of the slayer that was to flee for refuge. And if the avenger of blood pursue the slayer, then, saith Moses, they that are the elders of the city of refuge shall not deliver him into his hand, because he smote his neighbour unwittingly, and hated him not aforetime. Oh, blessed be God for this word; I was convinced that I was the slayer; and that the avenger of blood pursued me, that I felt with great terror; only now it remained that I inquire whether I have right to enter the city of refuge.49 So I found that he must not, who lay in wait to shed blood: 'it was not the willful murderer,' but he who unwittingly did it, he who did unawares shed blood; 'not of spite, or grudge, or malice, he that shed it unwittingly,' even he who did not hate his neighbour before. Wherefore,

49 The Holy Spirit is the candle of the Lord, by whose light the awakened conscience is brought to see something of the mystery of iniquity lurking in the heart. He first convinces of sin, righteousness, and judgment; and then points to Jesus as the only security: 'Behold the Lamb of God.'—Mason.

219. I thought verily I was the man that must enter, because I had smitten my neighbour unwittingly, and hated him not aforetime. I hated him not aforetime; no, I prayed unto him, was tender of sinning against him; yea, and against this wicked temptation I had strove for a twelvemonth before; yea, and also when it did pass through my heart, it did it in spite of my teeth: wherefore I thought I had right to enter this city, and the elders, which are the apostles, were not to deliver me up. This, therefore, was great comfort to me; and did give me much ground of hope.

220. Yet being very critical, for my smart had made me that I knew not what ground was sure enough to bear me, I had one question that my soul did much desire to be resolved about; and that was, Whether it be possible for any soul that hath indeed sinned the unpardonable sin, yet after that to receive though but the least true spiritual comfort from God through Christ? The which, after I had much considered, I found the answer was, No, they could not; and that for these reasons:-

221. First, Because those that have sinned that sin, they are debarred a share in the blood of Christ, and being shut out of that, they must needs be void of the least ground of hope, and so of spiritual comfort; for to such "there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins”(Heb 10:26). Secondly, Because they are denied a share in the promise of life; they shall never be forgiven, "neither in this world, neither in that which is to come”(Mt 12:32). Thirdly, The Son of God excludes them also from a share in his blessed intercession, being for ever ashamed to own them both before his holy Father, and the blessed angels in heaven (Mr 8:38).

222. When I had, with much deliberation, considered of this matter, and could not but conclude that the Lord had comforted me, and that too after this my wicked sin; then, methought, I durst venture to come nigh unto those most fearful and terrible scriptures, with which all this while I had been so greatly affrighted, and on which, indeed, before I durst scarce cast mine eye, yea, had much ado an hundred times to forbear wishing of them out of the Bible; for I thought they would destroy me; but now, I say, I began to take some measure of encouragement to come close to them, to read them, and consider them, and to weigh their scope and tendency.

223. The which, when I began to do, I found their visage changed; for they looked not so grimly on me as before I thought they did. And, first, I came to the sixth of the Hebrews, yet trembling for fear it should strike me; which when I had considered, I found that the falling there intended was a falling quite away; that is, as I conceived, a falling from, and an absolute denial of the gospel of remission of sins by Christ; for from them the apostle begins his argument (vv 1-3). Secondly, I found that this falling away must be openly, even in the view of the world, even so as "to put Christ to an open shame.”Thirdly, I found that those he there intended were for ever shut up of God, both in blindness, hardness, and impenitency: it is impossible they should be renewed again unto repentance. By all these particulars, I found, to God's everlasting praise, my sin was not the sin in this place intended.

`First, I confessed I was fallen, but not fallen away, that is, from the profession of faith in Jesus unto eternal life. Secondly, I confessed that I had put Jesus Christ to shame by my sin, but not to open shame; I did not deny him before men, nor condemn him as a fruitless one before the world. Thirdly, Nor did I find that God had shut me up, or denied me to come, though I found it hard work indeed to come to him by sorrow and repentance. Blessed be God for unsearchable grace.'

224. Then I considered that in the tenth of the Hebrews, and found that the willful sin there mentioned is not every willful sin, but that which Both throw off Christ, and then his commandments too. Secondly, That must also be done openly, before two or three witnesses, to answer that of the law (v 28). Thirdly, This sin cannot be committed, but with great despite done to the Spirit of grace; despising both the dissuasions from that sin, and the persuasions to the contrary. But the Lord knows, though this my sin was devilish, yet it did not amount to these.

225. And as touching that in the twelfth of the Hebrews, about Esau's selling his birthright, though this was that which killed me, and stood like a spear against me; yet now I did consider, First, That his was not a hasty thought against the continual labour of his mind, but a thought consented to and put in practice likewise, and that too after some deliberation (Ge 25). Secondly, It was a public and open action, even before his brother, if not before many more; this made his sin of a far more heinous nature than otherwise it would have been. Thirdly, He continued to slight his birthright: "He did eat and drink, and went his way; thus Esau despised his birthright”(v 34). Yea, twenty years after, he was found to despise it still. "And Esau said, I have enough, my brother; keep that thou hast unto thyself”(Ge 33:9).

226. Now as touching this, that Esau sought a place of repentance; thus I thought, first, This was not for the birthright, but for the blessing; this is clear from the apostle, and is distinguished by Esau himself; "he took away my birthright [that is, formerly]; and, behold, now he hath taken away my blessing”(Ge 27:36). Secondly, Now, this being thus considered, I came again to the apostle, to see what might be the mind of God, in a New Testament style and sense, concerning Esau's sin; and so far as I could conceive, this was the mind of God, That the birthright signified regeneration, and the blessing the eternal inheritance; for so the apostle seems to hint, "Lest there be any profane person, as Esau, who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright"; as if he should say, Lest there be any person amongst you, that shall cast off all those blessed beginnings of God that at present are upon him, in order to a new birth, lest they become as Esau, even be rejected afterwards, when they would inherit the blessing.

227. For many there are who, in the day of grace and mercy, despise those things which are indeed the birthright to heaven, who yet, when the deciding day appears, will cry as loud as Esau, "Lord, Lord, open to us"; but then, as Isaac would not repent, no more will God the Father, but will say, I have blessed these, yea, and they shall be blessed; but as for you, depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity (Ge 27:33; Lu 13:25-27).

228. When I had thus considered these scriptures, and found that thus to understand them was not against, but according to other scriptures; this still added further to my encouragement and comfort, and also gave a great blow to that objection, to wit, that the scripture could not agree in the salvation of my soul. And now remained only the hinder part of the tempest, for the thunder was gone beyond me, only some drops did still remain, that now and then would fall upon me; but because my former frights and anguish were very sore and deep, therefore it did oft befall me still, as it befalleth those that have been scared with fire, I thought every voice was Fire, fire; every little touch would hurt my tender conscience.30

30 This is very beautifully expressed; nothing can be more descriptive of a poor pilgrim who has been toiling through the valley of the shadow of death, and upon whose soul the day-spring from on high has arisen.—Ed.

229. But one day, as I was passing in the field, and that too with some dashes on my conscience, fearing lest yet all was not right, suddenly this sentence fell upon my soul, Thy righteousness is in heaven; and methought withal, I saw, with the eyes of my soul, Jesus Christ at God's right hand; there, I say, as my righteousness; so that wherever I was, or whatever I was adoing, God could not say of me, He wants my righteousness, for that was just before him. I also saw, moreover, that it was not my good frame of heart that made my righteousness better, nor yet my bad frame that made my righteousness worse; for my righteousness was Jesus Christ himself, the same yesterday, and to-day, and for ever (Heb 13:8).

230. Now did my chains fall off my legs indeed, I was loosed from my affliction and irons, my temptations also fled away; so that, from that time, those dreadful scriptures of God left off to trouble me; now went I also home rejoicing, for the grace and love of God. So when I came home, I looked to see if I could find that sentence, Thy righteousness is in heaven; but could not find such a saying, wherefore my heart began to sink again, only that was brought to my remembrance, he "of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption"; by this word I saw the other sentence true (1Co 1:30).

231. For by this scripture, I saw that the man Christ Jesus, as he is distinct from us, as touching his bodily presence, so he is our righteousness and sanctification before God. Here, therefore, I lived for some time, very sweetly at peace with God through Christ; Oh methought, Christ! Christ! there was nothing but Christ that was before my eyes, I was not now only for looking upon this and the other benefits of Christ apart, as of his blood, burial, or resurrection, but considered him as a whole Christ! As he in whom all these, and all other his virtues, relations, offices, and operations met together, and that 'as he sat' on the right hand of God in heaven.

232. It was glorious to me to see his exaltation, and the worth and prevalency of all his benefits, and that because of this: now I could look from myself to him, and should reckon that all those graces of God that now were green in me, were yet but like those cracked groats and fourpence-halfpennies51 that rich men carry in their purses, when their gold is in their trunks at home! Oh, I saw my gold was in my trunk at home! In Christ, my Lord and Saviour! Now Christ was all; all my wisdom, all my righteousness, all my sanctification, and all my redemption.

51 'Cracked groats and fourpence-halfpennies.' The humility of our author is here most unobtrusively apparent. He had some treasure in his 'earthen vessel'; but, in comparison with his store in Christ, it was like a few cracked groats by the side of massive pure gold. What he meant by `fourpence-halfpennies' somewhat puzzled me, there never having been any piece of English money coined of that value. I found that a proclamation was issued shortly before Mr. Bunyan's time (April 8, 1603), to save the people from being deceived with the silver harp money of Ireland, purporting to be twelve and sixpenny pieces. It fixed the value of the Irish twelvepence to be ninepence English; so that the Irish sixpence was to pass current for fourpence-halfpenny in England. That accomplished antiquary, Mr. Hawkins, the curator of the coins in the British Museum, skewed me this Irish silver money; and agreed with me in believing that Bunyan alludes to these Irish sixpences, placing them in company with cracked groats, depreciated in value. Mr. Hawkins was not aware that they had been in common circulation in England.—Ed.

233. Further, the Lord did also lead me into the mystery of union with the Son of God, that I was joined to him, that I was flesh of his flesh, and bone of his bone, and now was that a sweet word to me in Eph 5:30. By this also was my faith in him, as my righteousness, the more confirmed to me; for if he and I were one, then his righteousness was mine, his merits mine, his victory also mine. Now could I see myself in heaven and earth at once; in heaven by my Christ, by my head, by my righteousness and life, though on earth by my body or person.

234. Now I saw Christ Jesus was looked on of God, and should also be looked upon by us, as that common or public person,52 in whom all the whole body of his elect are always to be considered and reckoned; that we fulfilled the law by him, died by him, rose from the dead by him, got the victory over sin, death, the devil, and hell, by him; when he died, we died; and so of his resurrection. "Thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise,”saith he (Isa 26:19). And again, "After two days will he revive us: in the third day he will raise us up, and we shall live in his sight”(Ho 6:2); which is now fulfilled by the sitting down of the Son of man on the right hand of the Majesty in the heavens, according to that to the Ephesians, he "hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus”(Eph 2:6).

52 'Common or public,' belonging equally to many. Christ is the federal or covenant head of his church, each member claiming an equal or common right to all his merits as a Saviour, Mediator, and Advocate.—Ed.

235. Ah, these blessed considerations and scriptures, with many other of a like nature, were in those days made to spangle in mine eyes, 'so that I have cause to say,' "Praise ye the Lord. Praise God in his sanctuary: praise him in the firmament of his power. Praise him for his mighty acts: praise him according to his excellent greatness”(Ps 150:1-2).

236. Having thus, in few words, given you a taste of the sorrow and affliction that my soul went under, by the guilt and terror that this my wicked thought did lay me under! and having given you also a touch of my deliverance therefrom, and of the sweet and blessed comfort that I met with afterwards, which comfort dwelt about a twelve-month with my heart, to my unspeakable admiration; I will now, God willing, before I proceed any further, give you in a word or two, what, as I conceive, was the cause of this temptation; and also after that, what advantage, at the last, it became unto my soul.

237. For the causes, I conceived they were principally two: of which two also I was deeply convinced all the time this trouble lay upon me. The first was, for that I did not, when I was delivered from the temptation that went before, still pray to God to keep me from temptations that were to come; for though, as I can say in truth, my soul was much in prayer before this trial seized me, yet then I prayed only, or at the most, principally for the removal of present troubles, and for fresh discoveries of 'his' love in Christ! which I saw afterwards was not enough to do; I also should have prayed that the great God would keep me from the evil that was to come.

238. Of this I was made deeply sensible by the prayer of holy David, who, when he was under present mercy, yet prayed that God would hold him back from sin and temptation to come; "Then,”saith he, "shall I be upright, and I shall be innocent from the GREAT transgression”(Ps 19:13). By this very word was I galled and condemned, quite through this long temptation.

239. That also was another word that did much condemn me for my folly, in the neglect of this duty (Heb 4:16), "Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.”This I had not done, and therefore was suffered thus to sin and fall, according to what is written, "Pray that ye enter not into temptation.”And truly this very thing is to this day of such weight and awe upon me, that I dare not, when I come before the Lord, go off my knees, until I entreat him for help and mercy against the temptations that are to come; and I do beseech thee, reader, that thou learn to beware of my negligence, by the affliction that for this thing I did for days, and months, and years, with sorrow undergo.

240. Another cause of this temptation was, that I had tempted God; and on this manner did I do it. Upon a time my wife was great with child, and before her full time was come, her pangs, as of a woman in travail, were fierce and strong upon her, even as if she would have immediately fallen in labour, and been delivered of an untimely birth. Now, at this very time it was, that I had been so strongly tempted to question the being of God; wherefore, as my wife lay crying by me, I said, but with all secrecy imaginable, even thinking in my heart, Lord, if thou wilt now remove this sad affliction from my wife, and cause that she be troubled no more therewith this night, and now were her pangs just upon her, then I shall know that thou canst discern the most secret thoughts of the heart.

241. I had no sooner said it in my heart, but her pangs were taken from her, and she was cast into a deep sleep, and so she continued till morning; at this I greatly marveled, not knowing what to think; but after I had been awake a good while, and heard her cry no more, I fell to sleeping also. So when I waked in the morning, it came upon me again, even what I had said in my heart the last night, and how the Lord had showed me that he knew my secret thoughts, which was a great astonishment unto me for several weeks after.

242. Well, about a year and a half afterwards, that wicked sinful thought, of which I have spoken before, went through my wicked heart, even this thought, Let Christ go if he will; so when I was fallen under guilt for this, the remembrance of my other thought, and of the effect thereof, would also come upon me with this retort, which also carried rebuke along with it, Now you may see that God Both know the most secret thoughts of the heart.53

53 This retort, or rebuke, is inserted twice in the first edition, probably a typographical error.—Ed.

243. And with this, that of the passages that were betwixt the Lord and his servant Gideon fell upon my spirit; how because that Gideon tempted God with his fleece, both wet and dry, when he should have believed and ventured upon his word, therefore the Lord did afterwards so try him, as to send him against an innumerable company of enemies; and that too, as to outward appearance, without any strength or help (Jg 6; 7). Thus he served me, and that justly, for I should have believed his word, and not have put an IF upon the all-seeingness of God.

244. And now to show you something of the advantages that I also gained by this temptation; and first, By this I was made continually to possess in my soul a very wonderful sense both of the being and glory of God, and of his beloved Son; in the temptation `that went' before, my soul was perplexed with `unbelief, blasphemy, hardness of heart, questions about the being of God, Christ, the truth of the Word, and certainty of the world to come; I say, then I was greatly assaulted and tormented with' atheism; but now the case was otherwise, now was God and Christ continually before my face, though not in a way of comfort, but in a way of exceeding dread and terror. The glory of the holiness of God did at this time break me to pieces; and the bowels and compassion of Christ did break me as on the wheel54 for I could not consider him but as a lost and rejected Christ, the remembrance of which was as the continual breaking of my bones.

54 See note on No. 152. The feelings of Bunyan must have been exceedingly pungent.—Ed.

245. The Scriptures now also were wonderful things unto me; I saw that the truth and verity of them were the keys of the kingdom of heaven; those 'that' the Scriptures favour they must inherit bliss, but those 'that' they oppose and condemn must perish evermore. Oh this word, "For the Scripture cannot be broken": would rend the caul of my heart; and so would that other, "Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained.”Now I saw the apostles to be the elders of the city of refuge (Jos 20:4), those 'that' they were to receive in, were received to life; but those that they shut out were to be slain by the avenger of blood.55

55 This is a view of the power given to the apostles to forgive or retain sins worthy of our serious consideration. That mysterious power, under the pretence of possessing which merchandise is made of souls, if it was not limited to the apostles personally, was intended to be used by all those whom God sends to preach the gospel; an authority to proclaim salvation or condemnation to those who receive or reject the Saviour. Bunyan considers it a similar power to that given to the governors of the city of refuge; to admit the terror-stricken soul that 'shall declare his cause'—or confess his guilt—into the city, there to abide the judgment upon him, as in Christ the Refuge. This is very different to turning God out of his judgment-seat; as is the case when a poor worm says to his fellow-worm, 'I absolve thee from all thy sins.' See the visitation of the sick, in the Book of Common Prayer.—Ed.

246. Oh! one sentence of the Scripture did more afflict and terrify my mind, I mean those sentences that stood against me, as sometimes I thought they every one did, more I say, than an army of forty thousand men that might have come against me. Woe be to him against whom the Scriptures bend themselves.

247. By this temptation I was made 'to' see more into the nature of the promises than ever I was before; for I lying now trembling under the mighty hand of God, continually torn and rent by the thunderings of his justice; this made me, with careful heart and watchful eye, with great seriousness, to turn over every leaf, and with much diligence, mixed with trembling, to consider every sentence, together with its natural force and latitude.

248. By this temptation, also, I was greatly beaten off my former foolish practice, of putting by the word of promise when it came into my mind; for now, though I could not suck that comfort and sweetness from the promise as I had done at other times, yea, like to a man a-sinking, I should catch at all I saw; formerly I thought I might not meddle with the promise unless I felt its comfort, but now it was no time thus to do, the avenger of blood too hardly did pursue me.

249. Now therefore I was glad to catch at that word, which yet I feared I had no ground or right to own; and even to leap into the bosom of that promise, that yet I feared did shut its heart against me. Now also I should labour to take the Word as God had laid it down, without restraining the natural force of one syllable thereof. 0 what did I now see in that blessed sixth of John, "And him that cometh to me, I will in no wise cast out”(v 37). Now I began to consider with myself, that God had a bigger mouth to speak with than I had heart to conceive with. I thought also with myself that he spake not his words in haste, or in unadvised heat, but with infinite wisdom and judgment, and in very truth and faithfulness (2Sa 3:18).

250. I should in these days, often in my greatest agonies, even flounce towards the promise, as the horses do towards sound ground that yet stick in the mire, concluding, though as one almost bereft of his wits through fear, on this I will rest and stay, and leave the fulfilling of it to the God of heaven that made it. Oh! many a pull hath my heart had with Satan for that blessed sixth of John. I did not now, as at other times, look principally for comfort, though, 0 how welcome would it have been unto me! But now a word, a word to lean a weary soul upon, that I might not sink for ever! 'it was that I hunted for.'

251. Yea, often when I have been making to the promise, I have seen as if the Lord would refuse my soul for ever. I was often as if I had run upon the pikes, and as if the Lord had thrust at me to keep me from him as with a flaming sword. Then I should think of Esther, who went to petition the king contrary to the law (Es 4:16). I thought also of Benhadad's servants, who went with ropes upon their heads to their enemies for mercy (1Ki 20:31). The woman of Canaan also, that would not be daunted, though called dog by Christ (Mt 15:20-28). And the man that went to borrow bread at midnight (Lu 11:5-8), were great encouragements unto me.

252. I never saw those heights and depths in grace, and love, and mercy, as I saw after this temptation. Great sins do draw out great grace; and where guilt is most terrible and fierce there the mercy of God in Christ, when showed to the soul, appears most high and mighty. When Job had passed through his captivity, he had "twice as much as he had before”(Job 42:10). Blessed be God for Jesus Christ our Lord. Many other things I might here make observation of, but I would be brief, and therefore shall at this time omit them, and do pray God that my harms may make others fear to offend, lest they also be made to bear the iron yoke as I 'did.'

`I had two or three times, at or about my deliverance from this temptation, such strange apprehensions of the grace of God, that I could hardly bear up under it, it was so out of measure amazing, when I thought it could reach me, that I do think, if that sense of it had abode long upon me, it would have made me incapable for business.'


253. Now I shall go forward to give you a relation of other of the Lord's dealings with me, of his dealings with me at sundry other seasons, and of the temptations I then did meet withal. I shall begin with what I met with when I first did join in fellowship with the people of God in Bedford.56 After I had propounded to the church that my desire was to walk in the order and ordinances of Christ with them, and was also admitted by them; while I thought of that blessed ordinance of Christ, which was his last supper with his disciples before his death, that Scripture, "This do in remembrance of me”(Lu 22:19), was made a very precious word unto me; for by it the Lord did come down upon my conscience with the discovery of his death for my sins; and as I then felt, did as if he plunged me in the virtue of the same. But, behold, I had not been long a partaker at that ordinance, but such fierce and sad temptations did attend me at all times therein, both to blaspheme the ordinance, and to wish some deadly thing to those that then did eat thereof; that, lest I should at any time be guilty of consenting to these wicked and fearful thoughts, I was forced to bend myself all the while to pray to God to keep me from such blasphemies; and also to cry to God to bless the bread and cup to them as it went from mouth to mouth. The reason of this temptation I have thought since was, because I did not, with that reverence 'as became me,' at first approach to partake thereof.

56 The mode of admitting members into the church, among the Baptists, appears to have been the same in Bunyan's days as it is now practiced. It is, first to be introduced to the minister, who endeavours to ascertain whether there is an earnest desire to flee from the wrath to come, sincere repentance, and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. If so, he mentions it to the church; and visitors are appointed, to encourage the young convert, and to scrutinize into moral character. If they are satisfied, he is invited to attend a private church meeting; and if the members have a good hope that he is a decided believer in Jesus, they receive him into their fellowship; and if he requests it, he is publicly baptized in water, and communicates with the church at the Lord's table. This appears to have been the mode in which Bunyan was admitted into the church at Bedford. Most of the Baptist churches now agree with Bunyan, that the baptism of the Holy Ghost, or inward spiritual regeneration, is, alone, the essential pre-requisite to the Lord's table; and they leave members to their own conclusions as to the validity of their having been sprinkled in infancy, or the necessity of immersion in water upon a profession of faith.—Ed.

254. Thus I continued for three quarters of a year, and could never have rest nor ease; but at last the Lord came in upon my soul with that same scripture by which my soul was visited before; and after that I have been usually very well and comfortable in the partaking of that blessed ordinance, and have, I trust, therein discerned the Lord's body as broken for my sins, and that his precious blood hath been shed for my transgressions.

255. Upon a time I was somewhat 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 my eye.

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, dullness, 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 the tokens of a blessed man?

257. At the apprehension of these things my sickness was doubled upon me, for now was I 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 it had never been, nor 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”(Ro 3:24). 'But oh what a turn it made upon me!'

258. Now was I as one awakened 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 of 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 will 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 of 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 which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, &c. (Tit 3:5; 2Ti 1:9). 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 of that above; at this time also I saw more in those words, "Heirs of God”(Ro 8:17), 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.57

57. Many will be surprised that Bunyan, who was so ready a writer, should be unable to tell what he saw and felt when in these holy enjoyments; but all who have had similar feelings will unite with him in saying, they are inexpressible, great, and full of glory.—Ed.

260. 'Again, as I was at another time very ill and weak, all that time also the tempter did beset me strongly, for I find he is much for assaulting the soul when it begins to approach towards the grave, then is his opportunity, labouring to hide from me my former experience of God's goodness; also setting before me the terrors of death and the judgment of God, insomuch that at this time, through my fear of miscarrying for ever, should I now die, I was as one dead before death came, and was as if I had felt myself already descending into the pit; methought, I said, there was no way, but to hell I must; but behold, just as I was in the midst of those fears, these words of the angels carrying Lazarus into Abraham's bosom darted in upon me, as who should say, So it shall be with thee when thou Bost leave this world. This did sweetly revive my spirit, and help me to hope in God; which, when I had with comfort mused on a while, that word fell with great weight upon my mind, "0 death, where is thy sting? 0 grave, where is thy victory?”(1Co 15:55). At this I became both well in body and mind at once, for my sickness did presently vanish, and I walked comfortably in my work for God again.'

261. At another time, though just before I was pretty well and savoury in my spirit, yet suddenly there fell upon me a great cloud of darkness, which did so hide from me the things of God and Christ, that I was as if I had never seen or known them in my life; I was also so overrun in my soul, with a senseless, heartless frame of spirit, that I could not feel my soul to move or stir after grace and life by Christ; I was as if my loins were broken, or as if my hands and feet had been tied or bound with chains. At this time also I felt some weakness to seize `upon' my outward man, which made still the other affliction the more heavy and uncomfortable 'to me.'

262. After I had been in this condition some three or four days, as I was sitting by the fire, I suddenly felt this word to sound in my heart, I must go to Jesus; at this my former darkness and atheism fled away, and the blessed things of heaven were set within my view. While I was on this sudden thus overtaken with surprise, Wife, said I, is there ever such a scripture, I must go to Jesus? she said she could not tell, therefore I sat musing still to see if I could remember such a place; I had not sat above two or three minutes but that came bolting in upon me, "And to an innumerable company of angels,”and withal, Hebrews the twelfth, about the mount Sion was set before mine eyes (vv 22-24).

263. Then with joy I told my wife, 0 now I know, I know! But that night was a good night to me, I never had but few better; I longed for the company of some of God's people that I might have imparted unto them what God had showed me. Christ was a precious Christ to my soul that night; I could scarce lie in my bed for joy, and peace, and triumph, through Christ; this great glory did not continue upon me until morning, yet that twelfth of the author to the Hebrews (Heb 12:22-23) was a blessed scripture to me for many days together after this.

264. The words are these, "Ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, and to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel.”Through this blessed sentence the Lord led me over and over, first to this word, and then to that, and showed me wonderful glory in every one of them. These words also have oft since this time been great refreshment to my spirit. Blessed be God for having mercy on me.



265. And now I am speaking my experience, I will in this place thrust in a word or two concerning my preaching the Word, and of God's dealing with me in that particular also. For after I had been about five or six years awakened, and helped 'myself' to see both the want and worth of Jesus Christ our Lord, and `also' enabled to venture my soul upon him, some of the most able among the saints with us, I say the most able for judgment and holiness of life, as they conceived, did perceive that God had counted me worthy to understand something of his will in his holy and blessed Word, and had given me utterance, in some measure, to express what I saw to others for edification; 'therefore' they desired me, and that with much earnestness, that I would be willing, at sometimes, to take in hand, in one of the meetings, to speak a word of exhortation unto them.58

58 This is a very correct view of the excellent mode in which dissenting ministers are generally called to their important work. First, their gifts in prayer and conversation upon Divine things, and aptness in illustrating and confirming what they advance from the Scriptures, is noticed; and, secondly, they are encouraged to pray with and address the poor children in a Sunday school. If they manifest an aptness to teach, they are, thirdly, invited to give an exhortation to the church privately; and then, fourthly, they are encouraged to pray and preach among the poor in country villages and in workhouses. The God who gave the wish and the talent, soon opens a way to still more public usefulness. In most cases, they enter upon a course of study, to fit them for their momentous labours; but many of our most valuable ministers have, like Bunyan, relied entirely upon their prayerful investigation of the Scriptures. his college was a dungeon, his library the Bible; and he came forth with gigantic power to grapple with the prince of darkness. No human learning could have so fitted him for this terrible and mysterious warfare.—Ed.

266. The which, though at the first it did much dash and abash my spirit, yet being still by them desired and intreated, I consented to their request, and did twice at two several assemblies, but in private, though with much weakness and infirmity, discover my gift amongst them; at which they not only seemed to be, but did solemnly protest, as in the sight of the great God, they were both affected and comforted, and gave thanks to the Father of mercies for the grace bestowed on me.

267. After this, sometimes when some of them did go into the country to teach, they would also that I should go with them; where, though as yet I did not, nor durst not, make use of my gift in an open way, yet more privately still as I came amongst the good people in those places, I did sometimes speak a word of admonition unto them also; the which, they as the other received, with rejoicing, at the mercy of God to me-ward, professing their souls were edified thereby.

268. Wherefore, to be brief, at last, being still desired by the church, after some solemn prayer to the Lord, with fasting, I was more particularly called forth, and appointed to a more ordinary and public preaching the word, not only to, and amongst them that believed, but also to offer the gospel to those who had not yet received the faith thereof; about which time I did evidently find in my mind a secret pricking forward thereto; though I bless God, not for desire of vain glory, for at that time I was most sorely afflicted with the fiery darts of the devil concerning my eternal state.

269. But yet could not be content, unless I was found in the exercise of my gift, unto which also I was greatly animated, not only by the continual desires of the godly, but also by that saying of Paul to the Corinthians, "I beseech you, brethren (ye know the household of Stephanus, that it is the first fruits of Achai an, and that they have addicted themselves to the ministry of the saints) that ye submit yourselves unto such, and to every one that helpeth with us, and laboureth”(1Co 16:15-16).

270. By this text I was made to see that the Holy Ghost never intended that men who have gifts and abilities should bury them in the earth, but rather did command and stir up such to the exercise of their gift, and also did commend those that were apt and ready so to do, "They have addicted themselves to the ministry of the saints.”This scripture, in these days, did continually run in my mind, to encourage me and strengthen me in this my work for God; I have also been encouraged from several other scriptures and examples of the godly, both specified in the Word and other ancient histories (Ac 8:4; 18:24-25; 1Pe 4:10; Ro 12:6; Foxe's Acts and Monuments).

271. Wherefore, though of myself, of all the saints the most unworthy, yet I, but with great fear and trembling at the sight of my own weakness, did set upon the work, and did according to my gift, and the proportion of my faith, preach that blessed gospel that God had showed me in the holy Word of truth; which, when the country understood, they came in to hear the Word by hundreds, and that from all parts, though upon sundry and divers accounts.

272. And I thank God he gave unto me some measure of bowels and pity for their souls, which also did put me forward to labour with great diligence and earnestness, to find out such a word as might, if God would bless it, lay hold of, and awaken the conscience, in which also the good Lord had respect to the desire of his servant; for I had not preached long before some began to be touched by the Word, and to be greatly afflicted in their minds at the apprehension of the greatness of their sin, and of their need of Jesus Christ.

273. But I at first could not believe that God should speak by me to the heart of any man, still counting myself unworthy; yet those who thus were touched would love me and have a peculiar respect for me; and though I did put it from me, that they should be awakened by me, still they would confess it and affirm it before the saints of God; they would also bless God for me, unworthy wretch that I am! and count me God's instrument that showed to them the way of salvation.

274. Wherefore, seeing them in both their words and deeds to be so constant, and also in their hearts so earnestly pressing after the knowledge of Jesus Christ, rejoicing that ever God did send me where they were; then I began to conclude it might be so, that God had owned in his work such a foolish one as I, and then came that word of God to my heart with much sweet refreshment, "The blessing of him that was ready to perish came upon me; and I caused the widow's heart to sing for joy”(Job 29:13).

275. At this therefore I rejoiced, yea, the tears of those whom God did awaken by my preaching would be both solace and encouragement to me; for I thought on those sayings, "Who is he that maketh me glad but the same which is made sorry by me?”(2Co 2; 2); and again, Though "I be not an apostle to others, yet, doubtless, I am to you: for the seal of mine apostleship are ye in the Lord”(1Co 9:2). These things, therefore, were as another argument unto me that God had called me to, and stood by me in this work.

276. In my preaching of the Word, I took special notice of this one thing, namely, that the Lord did lead me to being where his Word begins with sinners; that is, to condemn all flesh, and to open and allege that the curse of God, by the law, Both belong to, and lay hold on all men as they come into the world, because of sin. Now this part of my work I fulfilled with great sense;59 for the terrors of the law, and guilt for my transgressions, lay heavy on my conscience. I preached what I felt, what I smartingly did feel, even that under which my pour soul did groan and tremble to astonishment.

59. 'With great sense,' means with great feeling, arising from his own acute experience.—Ed.

277. Indeed I have been as one sent to them from the dead; I went myself in chains to preach to them in chains; and carried that fire in my own conscience that I persuaded them to beware of. I can truly say, and that without dissembling, that when I have been to preach, I have gone full of guilt and terror even to the pulpit door, and there it hath been taken off, and I have been at liberty in my mind until I have done my work, and then immediately, even before I could get down the pulpit stairs, I have been as bad as I was before; yet God carried me on, but surely with a strong hand, for neither guilt or hell could take me off my work.

278. Thus I went for the space of two years, crying out against men's sins, and their fearful state because of them. After which the Lord came in upon my own soul with some staid peace and comfort through Christ; for he did give me many sweet discoveries of his blessed grace through him. Wherefore now I altered in my preaching, for still I preached what I saw and felt; now therefore I did much labour to hold forth Jesus Christ in all his offices, relations, and benefits unto the world; and did strive also to discover, to condemn, and remove those false supports and props on which the world Both both lean, and by them fall and perish. On these things also I staid as long as on the other.

279. After this, God led me into something of the mystery of union with Christ; wherefore that I discovered and showed to them also. And when I had traveled through these three chief points of the Word of God, about the space of five years or more, I was caught in my present practice and cast into prison, where I have lain60 above as long again, to confirm the truth by way of suffering, as I was before in testifying of it according to the Scriptures in a way of preaching.

60. In the first edition Bunyan says, 'I have lain as long,' (five years). This was in 1666.—Ed.

280. When I have been preaching, I thank God, my heart hath often all the time of this and the other exercise, with great earnestness, cried to God that he would make the Word effectual to the salvation of the soul; still being grieved lest the enemy should take the Word away from the conscience, and so it should become unfruitful. Wherefore I did labour so to speak the Word, as that thereby, if it were possible, the sins and person guilty might be particularized by it.

281. Also, when I have done the exercise, it hath gone to my heart to think the Word should now fall as rain on stony places, still wishing from my heart, 0 that they who have heard me speak this day did but see as I do what sin, death, hell, and the curse of God is; and also what the grace, and love, and mercy of God is, through Christ, to men in such a case as they are, who are yet estranged from him. And, indeed, I did often say in my heart before the Lord, That if to be hanged up presently before their eyes would be a means to awaken them, and confirm them in the truth, I gladly should be contented.

282. For I have been in my preaching, especially when I have been engaged in the doctrine of life by Christ, without works, as if an angel of God had stood by at my back to encourage me. Oh, it hath been with such power and heavenly evidence upon my own soul, while I have been labouring to unfold it, to demonstrate it, and to fasten it upon the consciences of others, that I could not be contented with saying, I believe, and am sure; methought I was more than sure, if it be lawful so to express myself, that those things which then I asserted were true.

283. When I went first to preach the Word abroad, the doctors and priests of the country did open wide against me.61 But I was persuaded of this, not to render railing for railing, but to see how many of their carnal professors I could convince of their miserable state by the law, and of the want and worth of Christ; for, thought I, This shall answer for me in time to come, when they shall be for my hire before their faces (Ge 30:33). 

61 When God sends forth a zealous ambassador to publish the glad tidings of salvation to perishing sinners, he will be sure to meet with the fiercest opposition from proud pharisaical professors: so it was from the beginning, and will be to the end of time; but the Lord will work, and none shall hinder. Experimental preaching will always be offensive to the carnal and profane.—Mason.  

284. I never cared to meddle with things that were controverted, and in dispute amongst the saints, especially things of the lowest nature; yet it pleased me much to contend with great earnestness for the word of faith and the remission of sins by the death and sufferings of Jesus; but I say, as to other things, I should let them alone, because I saw they engendered strife, and because that they neither, in doing nor in leaving undone, did commend us to God to be his. Besides, I saw my work before me did run in another channel, even to carry an awakening word; to that therefore did I stick and adhere.62

62 It is impossible to identify the sect to which Bunyan belonged by reading his works. He rises above all sectarian bias in his earnest efforts to win souls to Christ, and to keep them in a heavenly frame of mine.—Ed.

285. I never endeavoured to, nor durst make use of other men's lines (Ro 15:18)63, though I condemn not all that do, for I verily thought, and found by experience, that what was taught me by the Word and Spirit of Christ, could be spoken, maintained, and stood to by the soundest and best established conscience; and though I will not now speak all that I know in this matter, yet my experience hath more interest in that text of Scripture than many amongst men are aware (Ga 1:11-12).  

63 'Other men's lines,' other men's compositions. Bunyan went himself to the fountain head of Divine truth, and was not taught by the wisdom of his fellow-men in the things that pertained to salvation. He spoke as he felt; and, while he copied no sentence from others, no man that ever wrote has been so copied from by others. Application was once made to the Editor, to publish an admirable sermon which had been taken in short hand from the lips of a D.D.; when, to the surprise of the applicant, he was shown the whole sermon in Bunyan's Heavenly Footman.—Ed.

286. If any of those who were awakened by my ministry did after that fall back, as sometimes too many did, I can truly say their loss hath been more to me than if one of my own children, begotten of my body, had been going to its grave; I think, verily, I may speak it without an offence to the Lord, nothing hath gone so near me as that, unless it was the fear of the loss of the salvation of my own soul. I have counted as if I had goodly buildings and lordships in those places where my children were born; my heart hath been so wrapped up in the glory of this excellent work, that I counted myself more blessed and honoured of God by this than if he had made me the emperor of the Christian world, or the lord of all the glory of 'the' earth without it! 0 these words, "He which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death”(Jas 5:20). "The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; and he that winneth souls is wise”(Prow 11:30). "They that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever”(Da 12:3). "For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming? For ye are our glory and joy”(1Th 2:19-20). These, I say, with many others of a like nature, have been great refreshments to me.'

287. I have observed, that where I have had a work to do for God, I have had first, as it were, the going of God upon my spirit to desire I might preach there. I have also observed that such and such souls in particular have been strongly set upon my heart, and I stirred up to wish for their salvation; and that these very souls have, after this, been given in as the fruits of my ministry. I have also observed, that a word cast in by the by hath done more execution in a sermon than all that was spoken besides; sometimes also when I have thought I did no good, then I did the most of all; and at other times when I thought I should catch them I have fished for nothing.

288. 'I have also observed, that where there hath been a work to do upon sinners, there the devil hath begun to roar in the hearts, and by the mouths of his servants. Yea, oftentimes when the wicked world hath raged most, there hath been souls awaked by the Word. I could instance particulars, but I forbear.'

289. My great desire in my fulfilling my ministry was to get into the darkest places of the country, even amongst those people that were furthest off of profession; yet not because

I could not endure the light, for I feared not to show my gospel to any, but because I found my spirit leaned most after awakening and converting work, and the Word that I carried did lead itself most that way `also'; "yea, so have I strived to preach the gospel, not where Christ was named, lest I should build upon another man's foundation”(Ro 15:20).

290. In my preaching I have really been in pain, and have, as it were, travailed to bring forth children to God; neither could I be satisfied unless some fruits did appear in my work. If I were fruitless it mattered not who commended me; but if I were fruitful, I cared not who did condemn. I have thought of that, "He that winneth souls is wise”(Prow 11:30); and again, "Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord; and the fruit of the womb is his reward. As arrows in the hand of a mighty man, so are children of the youth. Happy is the man that hath filled his quiver full of them; they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate”(Ps 127:3-5).

291. 'It pleased me nothing to see people drink in opinions if they seemed ignorant of Jesus Christ, and the worth of their own salvation, sound conviction for sin, especially for unbelief, and an heart set on fire to be saved by Christ, with strong breathing after a truly sanctified soul; that it was that delighted me; those were the souls I counted blessed.'

292. But in this work, as in all other, I had my temptations attending me, and that of diverse kinds, as sometimes I should be assaulted with great discouragement therein, fearing that I should not be able to speak the word at all to edification; nay, that I should not be able to speak sense unto the people; at which times I should have such a strange faintness and strengthlessness seize upon my body that my legs have scarce been able to carry me to the place of exercise.

293. Sometimes, again, when I have been preaching, I have been violently assaulted with thoughts of blasphemy, and strongly tempted to speak the words with my mouth before the congregation. I have also at some times, even when I have begun to speak the Word with much clearness, evidence, and liberty of speech, yet been before the ending of that opportunity so blinded, and so estranged from the things I have been speaking, and have also been so straitened in my speech, as to utterance before the people, that I have been as if I had not known or remembered what I have been about, or as if my head had been in a bag all the time of the exercise.

294. Again, when as sometimes I have been about to preach upon some smart and scorching64 portion of the Word, I have found the tempter suggest, What, will you preach this? this condemns yourself; of this your own soul is guilty; wherefore preach not of it at all; or if you do, yet so mince it as to make way for your own escape; lest instead of awakening others, you lay that guilt upon your own soul, as you will never get from under.

64 Altered, in later editions, to `searching.'—Ed.

295. 'But, I thank the Lord, I have been kept from consenting to these so horrid suggestions, and have rather, as Samson, bowed myself with all my might, to condemn sin and transgression wherever I found it, yea, though therein also I did bring guilt upon my own conscience! "Let me die,”thought I, "with the Philistines”(Jg 16:29-30), rather than deal corruptly with the blessed Word of God, "Thou that teachest another, teachest not thou thyself?”It is far better that thou do judge thyself, even by preaching plainly to others, than that thou, to save thyself, imprison the truth in unrighteousness; blessed be God for his help also in this.'

296. I have also, while found in this blessed work of Christ, been often tempted to pride and liftings up of heart; and though I dare not say I have not been infected with this, yet truly the Lord, of his precious mercy, hath so carried it towards me, that, for the most part, I have had but small joy to give way to such a thing; for it hath been my every day's portion to be let into the evil of my own heart, and still made to see such a multitude of corruptions and infirmities therein, that it hath caused hanging down of the head under all my gifts and attainments; I have felt this thorn in the flesh, the very mercy of God to me (2Co 12:7-9).

297. I have had also, together with this, some notable place or other of the Word presented before me, which word hath contained in it some sharp and piercing sentence concerning the perishing of the soul, notwithstanding gifts and parts; as, for instance, that hath been of great use unto me, "Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, and a tinkling cymbal”(1Co 13:1-2).

298. A tinkling cymbal is an instrument of music, with which a skillful player can make such melodious and heart-inflaming music, that all who hear him play can scarcely hold from dancing; and yet behold the cymbal hath not life, neither comes the music from it, but because of the art of him that plays therewith; so then the instrument at last may come to nought and perish, though, in times past, such music hath been made upon it.

299. Just thus I saw it was and will be with them who have gifts, but want saving grace, they are in the hand of Christ, as the cymbal in the hand of David; and as David could, with the cymbal, make that mirth in the service of God, as to elevate the hearts of the worshippers, so Christ can use these gifted men, as with them to affect the souls of his people in his church; yet when he hath done all, hang them by as lifeless, though sounding cymbals.65

65. Gifts are no evidence of God's favour; they are like the gold which adorned the temple, but grace, the saving grace of the Spirit, is like the altar which sanctifies the gold.—Mason.

300. This consideration, therefore, together with some others, were, for the most part, as a maul on the head of pride, and desire of vain glory; what, thought I, shall I be proud because I am a sounding brass? Is it so much to be a fiddle? Hath not the least creature that hath life, more of God in it than these? Besides, I knew it was love should never die, but these must cease and vanish; so I concluded, a little grace, a little love, a little of the true fear of God, is better than all these gifts; yea, and I am fully convinced of it, that it is possible for a soul that can scarce give a man an answer, but with great confusion as to method, I say it is possible for them to have a thousand times more grace, and so to be more in the love and favour of the Lord than some who, by virtue of the gift of knowledge, can deliver themselves like angels. 66

66 In this paragraph is displayed that modest genuine humility which shone so conspicuously in Bunyan. He possessed that popular natural eloquence, by which he could deliver himself like an angel; but when pride began to rise, he knocked it on the head with that severe maul, 'Is it so much to be a fiddle' that Satan once so played upon?—Ed.

301. 'Thus, therefore, I came to perceive, that though gifts in themselves were good to the thing for which they are designed, to wit, the edification of others; yet empty and without power to save the soul of him that hath them, if they be alone; neither are they, as so, any sign of a man's state to be happy, being only a dispensation of God to some, of whose improvement, or non-improvement, they must, when a little love more is over, give an account to him that is ready to judge the quick and the dead.'

302. 'This showed me too, that gifts being alone, were dangerous, not in themselves, but because of those evils that attend them that have them, to wit, pride, desire of vain glory, self-conceit, &c., all which were easily blown up at the applause and commendation of every unadvised Christian, to the endangering of a poor creature to fall into the condemnation of the devil.'

303. 'I saw therefore that he that hath gifts had need be let into a sight of the nature of them, to wit, that they come short of making of him to be in a truly saved condition, lest he rest in them, and so fall short of the grace of God.'

304. 'He hath also cause to walk humbly with God, and be little in his own eyes, and to remember withal, that his gifts are not his own, but the church's; and that by them he is made a servant to the church; and he must give at last an account of his stewardship unto the Lord Jesus; and to give a good account, will be a blessed thing.'

305. 'Let all men therefore prize a little with the fear of the Lord; gifts indeed are desirable, but yet great grace and small gifts are better than great gifts and no grace. It doth not say, the Lord gives gifts and glory, but the Lord gives grace and glory; and blessed is such an one, to whom the Lord gives grace, true grace, for that is a certain forerunner of glory.'

306. 'But when Satan perceived that his thus tempting and assaulting of me would not answer his design, to wit, to overthrown my ministry, and make it ineffectual, as to the ends thereof; then he tried another way, which was to stir up the minds of the ignorant and malicious, to load me with slanders and reproaches; now therefore I may say, That what the devil could devise, and his instruments invent, was whirled up and down the country against me, thinking, as I said, that by that means they should make my ministry to be abandoned.'

307. 'It began therefore to be rumoured up and down among the people, that I was a witch, a Jesuit, a highwayman, and the like.'

308. ' To all which, I shall only say, God knows that I am innocent. But as for mine accusers, let them provide themselves to meet me before the tribunal of the Son of God, there to answer for all these things, with all the rest of their iniquities, unless God shall give them repentance for them, for the which I pray with all my heart.'

309. 'But that which was reported with the boldest confidence, was, that I had my misses, my whores, my bastards, yea, two wives at once, and the like. Now these slanders, with the other, I glory in, because but slanders, foolish, or knavish lies, and falsehoods cast upon me by the devil and his seed; and should I not be dealt with thus wickedly by the world, I should want one sign of a saint, and a child of God. "Blessed are ye [said the Lord Jesus] when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely for my sake; rejoice, and be exceeding glad, for great is your reward in heaven; for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you”(Mt 4:11).'

310. 'These things, therefore, upon mine own account, trouble me not; no, though they were twenty times more than they are. I have a good conscience, and whereas they speak evil of me, as an evil doer, they shall be ashamed that falsely accuse my good conversation in Christ.67

67 One circumstance from which these vile slanders were raised, is narrated in the thrilling narrative of God's gracious dealings with Mrs. Agnes Beaumont. She was waiting in hopes of attending a meeting, when 'at last, quite unexpectedly, came Mr. Bunyan. The sight of him caused a mixture of joy and grief. I was glad to see him, but afraid he would not be willing to take me up behind him, and how to ask him I knew not. At length my brother did; but Mr. Bunyan answered, with some degree of roughness, "No, I will not carry her.”These words were cutting indeed, and made me weep bitterly. My brother, perceiving my trouble, said, "Sir, if you do not carry her, you will break her heart"; but he made the same reply, adding, "Your father would be grievously angry if I should.”"I will venture that,”said I. And thus, with much entreaty, he was prevailed on; and O how glad was I to think I was going. Soon after we set out, my father came to my brother's, and asked his men whom his daughter rode behind? They said, Mr. Bunyan. Upon hearing this, his anger was greatly inflamed; he ran down the close, thinking to overtake me, and pull me off the horse, but we were gone out of his reach.

`I had not ridden far, before my heart began to be lifted up with pride at the thoughts of riding behind this servant of the Lord; and was pleased if any looked after us, as we rode along. Indeed, I thought myself very happy that day: first, that it pleased God to make way for my going; and then, that I should have the honour to ride behind Mr. Bunyan, who would sometimes be speaking to me about the things of God. My pride soon had a fall; for, in entering Gam'gay, we were met by one Mr. Lane, a clergyman who lived at Bedford, and knew us both, and spoke to us, but looked very hard at us as we rode along; and soon after raised a vile scandal upon us, though, blessed be God, it was false.'

No Christian should be without that deeply interesting volume of Christian experience, James' Abstract of the Gracious Dealings of God with several Eminent Christians. The persecutions that Mrs. Beaumont went through were like a dreadful tempest, yet was she joyfully delivered out of them all.—Ed. 

311. 'So then, what shall I say to those that have thus bespattered me? shall I threaten them? Shall I chide them? Shall I flatter them? Shall I intreat them to hold their tongues? No, not I, were it not for that these things make them ripe for damnation, that are the authors and abettors, I would say unto them, Report it, because it will increase my glory.'

312. 'Therefore I bind these lies and slanders to me as an ornament, it belongs to my Christian profession to be vilified, slandered, reproached and reviled; and since all this is nothing else, as my God and my conscience do bear me witness; I rejoice in reproaches for Christ's sake.'

313. 'I also calling all those fools, or knaves, that have thus made it anything of their business, to affirm any of the things afore-named of me, namely, that I have been naught with other women, or the like. When they have used to the utmost of their endeavours, and made the fullest inquiry that they can, to prove against me truly, that there is any woman in heaven, or earth, or hell, that can say, I have at any time, in any place, by day or night, so much as attempted to be naught with them; and speak I thus, to beg mine enemies into a good esteem of me; no, not I: I will in this beg relief of no man; believe or disbelieve me in this, all is a case to me.68

68 'All is a case,' all the same. A case—that which falls, comes, or happens; an event. See Blackie's Imperial Dictionary.—Ed.

314. 'My foes have missed their mark in this their shooting at me. I am not the man. I wish that they themselves be guiltless. If all the fornicators and adulterers in England were hanged by the neck till they be dead, JOHN BUNYAN, the object of their envy, would be still alive and well. I know not whether there be such a thing as a woman breathing under the copes of the whole heaven, but by their apparel, their children, or by common fame, except my wife.'

315. 'And in this I admire the wisdom of God, that he made me shy of women from my first conversion until now. Those know, and can also bear me witness, with whom I have been most intimately concerned, that it is a rare thing to see me carry it pleasant towards a woman; the common salutation of a woman I abhor, it is odious to me in whomsoever I see it. Their company alone, I cannot away with. I seldom so much as touch a woman's hand, for I think these things are not so becoming me. When I have seen good men salute those women that they have visited, or that have visited them, I have at times made my objection against it, and when they have answered, that it was but a piece of civility, I have told them, it is not a comely sight; some indeed have urged the holy kiss; but then I have asked why they made baulks,69 why they did salute the most handsome, and let the ill-favoured go; thus, how laudable soever such things have been in the eyes of others, they have been unseemly in my sight.'

69 'Baulks,' missing, omitting, leaving untouched. 'This was looked for at your hand, and this was baulked; the double gill of this opportunity you let time wash off, and you are now sailed into the north of my lady's opinion; where you will hang like an icicle on a Dutchman's beard.'—Twelfth Night, Act iii. Scene 2; and Imperial Dictionary.—Ed.

316. 'And now for a wind up in this matter, I calling not only men, but angels, to prove me guilty of having carnally to do with any woman save my wife, nor am I afraid to do it a second time, knowing that I cannot offend the Lord in such a case, to call God for a record upon my soul, that in these things I am innocent. Not that I have been thus kept, because of any goodness in me more than any other, but God has been merciful to me, and has kept me; to whom I pray that he will keep me still, not only from this, but from every evil way and work, and preserve me to his heavenly kingdom. Amen.'

317. 'Now as Satan laboured by reproaches and slanders, to make me vile among my countrymen, that if possible, my preaching might be made of none effect, so there was added hereto a long and tedious imprisonment, that thereby I might be frighted from my service for Christ, and the world terrified, and made afraid to hear me preach, of which I shall in the next place give you a brief account.'



318. Having made profession of the glorious gospel of Christ a long time, and preached the same about five years, I was apprehended at a meeting of good people in the country, among whom, had they let me alone, I should have preached that day, but they took me away from amongst them, and had me before a justice; who, after I had offered security for my appearing at the next sessions, yet committed me, because my sureties would not consent to be bound that I should preach no more to the people.

319. At the sessions after, I was indicted for an upholder and maintainer of unlawful assemblies and conventicles, and for not conforming to the national worship of the Church of England; and after some conference there with the justices, 'they taking my plain dealing with them for a confession, as they termed it, of the indictment,' did sentence me to perpetual banishment, because I refused to conform. So being again delivered up to the jailer's hands, I was had home to prison again, and there have lain now70 'complete twelve years,' waiting to see what God would suffer these men to do with me.

70 'Above five year and a quarter' are the words in the first edition, 1666. His imprisonment commenced November 1660; the order for his release bears date September 13, 1672, but it was some months before he was discharged.—Ed.

320. In which condition I have continued with much content, through grace, but have met with many turnings and goings upon my heart, both from the Lord, Satan, and my own corruptions; by all which, glory be to Jesus Christ, I have also received among many things, much conviction, instruction, and understanding, of which at large I shall not here discourse; only give you in a hint or two, a word that may stir up the godly to bless God, and to pray for me; and also to take encouragement, should the case be their own, not to fear what man can do unto them.

321. I never had in all my life so great an inlet into the Word of God as now; those Scriptures that I saw nothing in before, are made in this place and state to shine upon me; Jesus Christ also was never more real and apparent than now; here I have seen him and felt him indeed: 0 that word, We have not preached unto you cunningly devised fables (2Pe 1:16); and that, God raised Christ from the dead, and gave him glory, that your faith and hope might be in God (1Pe 1:2), were blessed words unto me in this my imprisoned condition.

322. These three or four scriptures also have been great refreshment in this condition to me (Joh 14:1-4; 16:33; Col 3:3-4; Heb 12:22-24). So that sometimes when I have been in the savour of them, I have been able to laugh at destruction, and to fear neither the horse nor his rider (Job 39:18). I have had sweet sights of the forgiveness of my sins in this place, and of my being with Jesus in another world: 0, "the mount Zion, the heavenly Jerusalem, the innumerable company of angels, and God the judge of all, and the spirits of just men made perfect, and to Jesus”(Heb 12:22-24), have been sweet unto me in this place: I have seen THAT here, that I am persuaded I shall never, while in this world, be able to express; I have seen a truth in that scripture, "Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye se him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory”(1Pe 1:8).71

71 Angel visits may be expected when Antichrist persecutes the Christian to bonds and imprisonment. An angel released Peter from prison; angels revealed to John, when exiled to Patmos, the wonders of his book of Revelation. The Lord of angels, the angel of the covenant, communes with Bunyan in his dungeon, and converts it into a Bethel to his soul; and this, for refusing obedience to the laws of his country, because those laws violated God's prerogative, and impiously dared to assume authority which belongs exclusively to the Almighty. They remain to this day a disgrace to our statutes, but are never enforced.—Ed.

323. I never knew what it was for God to stand by me at all turns, and at every offer of Satan 'to afflict me,' &c., as I have found him since I came in hither; for look how fears have presented themselves, so have supports and encouragements, yea, when I have started, even as it were at nothing else but my shadow, yet God, as being very tender of me, hath not suffered me to be molested, but would with one scripture and another strengthen me against all; insomuch that I have often said, Were it lawful, I could pray for greater trouble, for the greater comfort's sake (Ec 7:14; 2Co 1:5).

324. Before I came to prison, I saw what was a-coming, and had especially two considerations warm upon my heart; the first was how to be able to endure, should my imprisonment be long and tedious; the second was how to be able to encounter death, should that be here my portion; for the first of these, that scripture (Col 1:11) was great information to me, namely, to pray to God to be "strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and long-suffering with joyfulness.”I could seldom go to prayer before I was imprisoned, but not for so little as a year together, this sentence, or sweet petition, would, as it were, thrust itself into my mind, and persuade me, that if ever I would go through long-suffering, I must have all patience, especially if I would endure it joyfully.

325. As to the second consideration, that saying (2Co 1:9), was of great use to me, But we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead. By this scripture I was made to see, that if ever I would suffer rightly, I must first pass a sentence of death upon everything that can properly be called a thing of this life, even to reckon myself, my wife, my children, my health, my enjoyments, and all, as dead to me, and myself as dead to them. "He that loveth father or mother, son or daughter, more than me, is not worthy of me”(Mt 10:37).

326. The second was, to live upon God that is invisible; as Paul said in another place, the way not to faint, is to "look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal”(2Co 4:18). And thus I reasoned with myself; if I provide only for a prison, then the whip comes at unawares; and so does also the pillory; again, if I provide only for these, then I am not fit for banishment; further, if I conclude that banishment is the worst, then if death come I am surprised. So that I see the best way to go through sufferings is to trust in God through Christ, as touching the world to come; and as touching this world, to count "the grave my house, to make my bed in darkness, and to say to corruption, Thou art my father, and to the worm, Thou art my mother and my sister.”That is, to familiarize these things to me.72

72 Bunyan did well to prepare for the worst. He must have been familiar with the horrid cruelties practiced upon Dr. Leighton by that fiend in human shape, Archbishop Laud. The pious and learned doctor was caught in Bedfordshire; and the story of his unparalleled sufferings strengthened the Roundheads to deeds of valour, in putting an end to such diabolical cruelties. The spirit of the charges against him were his saying that no king may make laws in the house of God; and that the bishops were ravens and magpies that prey upon the state. His sufferings are narrated in Brooke's Puritans, vol. ii. p. 478.—Ed

327. But notwithstanding these helps, I found myself a man, and compassed with infirmities; the parting with my wife and poor children hath oft been to me in this place as the pulling the flesh from my bones, and that not only because I am somewhat too too fond of those great mercies, but also because I should have often brought to my mind the many hardships, miseries and wants that my poor family was like to meet with, should I be taken from them, especially my poor blind child, who lay nearer my heart than all I had besides; 0 the thoughts of the hardship I thought my blind one might go under, would break my heart to pieces.

328. Poor child, thought I, what sorrow art thou like to have for thy portion in this world? Thou must be beaten, must beg, suffer hunger, cold, nakedness, and a thousand calamities, though I cannot now endure the wind should blow upon thee. But yet recalling myself, thought I, I must venture you all with God, though it goeth to the quick to leave you. 0, I saw in this condition I was as a man who was pulling down his house upon the head of his wife and children; yet thought I, I must do it, I must do it. And now I thought on those two milch kine that were to carry the ark of God into another country, and to leave their calves behind them (1Sa 6:10-12).

329. But that which helped me in this temptation was divers considerations, of which three in special here I will name; the first was the consideration of those two scriptures, "Leave thy fatherless children, I will preserve them alive, and let thy widows trust in me.”And again, "The Lord said, Verily it shall be well with thy remnant; verily I will cause the enemy to entreat thee well in the time of evil," &c. (Jer 49:11; 15:11).

330. I had also this consideration, that if I should now venture all for God, I engaged God to take care of my concernments; but if I forsook him and his ways, for fear of any trouble that should come to me or mine, then I should not only falsify my profession, but should count also that my concernments were not so sure, if left at God's feet, while I stood to and for his name, as they would be, if they were under my own tuition,73 though with the denial of the way of God. This was a smarting consideration, and was as spurs unto my flesh. That scripture also greatly helped it to fasten the more upon me, where Christ prays against Judas, that God would disappoint him in all his selfish thoughts, which moved him to sell his master: pray read it soberly (Ps 109:6-20).

73 'Tuition' was altered to 'care' in later editions.—Ed

331. I had also another consideration, and that was, the dread of the torments of hell, which I was sure they must partake of, that for fear of the cross, do shrink from their profession of Christ, his words, and laws, before the sons of men; I thought also of the glory that he had prepared for those that, in faith, and love, and patience, stood to his ways before them. These things, I say, have helped me, when the thoughts of the misery that both myself and mine, might for the sake of my profession be exposed to, hath lain pinching on my mine.

332. When I have indeed conceited that I might be banished for my profession, then I have thought of that scripture, "They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword; they wandered about in sheep skins and goat skins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented, of whom the world was not worthy”(Heb 11:37), for all they thought they were too bad to dwell and abide amongst them. I have also thought of that saying, "The Holy Ghost witnesseth in every city, that bonds and afflictions abide me.”I have verily thought that my soul and it74 have sometimes reasoned about the sore and sad estate of a banished and exiled condition, how they are exposed to hunger, to cold, to perils, to nakedness, to enemies, and a thousand calamities; and at last, it may be, to die in a ditch, like a poor forlorn and desolate sheep. But I thank God, hitherto I have not been moved by these most delicate reasonings, but have rather, by them, more approved my heart to God.

74. i.e., My profession—the soul, shrinking from pain, moving him one way, and his profession another.— Ed.

333. I will tell you a pretty business; I was once above all the rest in a very sad and low condition for many weeks; at which time also I being but a young prisoner, and not acquainted with the laws, had this lay much upon my spirit, That my imprisonment might end at the gallows for aught that I could tell. Now, therefore, Satan laid hard at me to beat me out of heart, by suggesting thus unto me, But how if when you come indeed to die, you should be in this condition; that is, as not to savour the things of God, nor to have any evidence upon your soul for a better state hereafter? For indeed at that time all the things of God were hid from my soul.

334. Wherefore, when I at first began to think of this, it was a great trouble to me; for I thought with myself, that in the condition I now was in, I was not fit to die, neither indeed did think I could, if I should be called to it: besides, I thought with myself, if I should make a scrabbling75 shift to clamber up the ladder, yet I should either with quaking, or other symptoms of faintings, give occasion to the enemy to reproach the way of God and his people, for their timorousness. This therefore lay with great trouble upon me, for methought I was ashamed to die with a pale face, and tottering knees, for such a cause as this.

75. 'To scrabble,' to go on all fours—'to move along on the hands and knees, by clawing with the hands.'—Blackie's Imperial Dictionary.—Ed.

335. Wherefore, I prayed to God that he would comfort me, and give me strength to do and suffer what he should call me to; yet no comfort appeared, but all continued hid: I was also at this time so really possessed with the thought of death, that oft I was as if I was on the ladder with a rope about my neck; only this was some encouragement to me, I thought I might now have an opportunity to speak my last words to a multitude, which I thought would come to see me die; and, thought I, if it must be so, if God will but convert one soul by my very last words, I shall not count my life thrown away, nor lost.

336. But yet all the things of God were kept out of my sight, and still the tempter followed me with, But whither must you go when you die? What will become of you? Where will you be found in another world? What evidence have you for heaven and glory, and an inheritance among them that are sanctified? Thus was I tossed for many weeks, and knew not what to do; at last this consideration fell with weight upon me, That it was for the Word and way of God, that I was in this condition, wherefore I was engaged not to flinch a hair's breadth from it.

337. I thought also, that God might choose, whether he would give me comfort now or at the hour of death, but I might not therefore choose whether I would hold my profession or no: I was bound, but he was free: yea, it was my duty to stand to his word, whether he would ever look upon me or no, or save me at the last: wherefore, thought I, the point being thus, I am for going on, and venturing my eternal state with Christ, whether I have comfort here or no; if God Both not come in, thought I, I will leap off the ladder even blindfold into eternity, sink or swim, come heaven, come hell, Lord Jesus, if thou wilt catch me, do; 'if not,' I will venture for thy name.

338. I was no sooner fixed upon this resolution, but that word dropped upon me, "Doth Job serve God for nought?”As if the accuser had said, Lord, Job is no upright man, he serves thee for by-respects: hast thou not made a hedge about him, &c. "But put forth thine hand now, and touch all that he hath, and he will curse thee to thy face.”How now, thought I, is this the sign of an upright soul, to desire to serve God, when all is taken from him? Is he a godly man, that will serve God for nothing rather than give out? blessed be God, then, I hope I have an upright heart, for I am resolved, God giving me strength, never to deny my profession, though I have nothing at all for my pains; and as I was thus considering, that scripture was set before me (Ps 44:12-26).76

76 This is the language of a heaven-born soul, which sees such beauty and excellency in Christ, that it would not part with him for a thousand worlds; if there were no heaven hereafter, his delight in the ways of God renders his service preferable to all the wealth, grandeur, and vain pleasures of the ungodly.—Mason.

339. Now was my heart full of comfort, for I hoped it was sincere: I would not have been without this trial for much; I am comforted every time I think of it, and I hope I shall bless God for ever for the teaching I have had by it. Many more of the dealings of God towards me I might relate, but these, "Out of the spoils won in battles have I dedicated to maintain the house of the LORD”(1Ch 26:27).


1. Of all the temptations that ever I met with in my life, to question the being 'of God,' and 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 foundation from under me: 0, 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 spirits 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.





"Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.”Mt 5:10-12

London: Printed for James Buckland, at the Buck, in Paternoster Row, MDCCLXV

The relation of my imprisonment in the month of November 1660.

When, by the good hand of my God, I had for five or six years together, without any interruption, freely preached the blessed gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ; and had also, through his blessed grace, some encouragement by his blessing thereupon; the devil, that old enemy of man's salvation, took his opportunity to inflame the hearts of his vassals against me, insomuch that at the last I was laid out for by the warrant of a justice, and was taken and committed to prison. The relation thereof is as followeth:

Upon the 12th of this instant November 1660, I was desired by some of the friends in the country to come to teach at Samsell, by Harlington, in Bedfordshire. To whom I made a promise, if the Lord permitted, to be with them on the time aforesaid. The justice hearing thereof, whose name is Mr. Francis Wingate, forthwith issued out his warrant to take me, and bring me before him, and in the meantime to keep a very strong watch about the house where the meeting should be kept, as if we that were to meet together in that place did intend to do some fearful business, to the destruction of the country; when, alas, the constable, when he came in, found us only with our Bibles in our hands, ready to speak and hear the Word of God; for we were just about to begin our exercise. Nay, we had begun in prayer for the blessing of God upon our opportunity, intending to have preached the Word of the Lord unto them there present;1 but the constable coming in prevented us; so that I was taken and forced to depart the room. But had I been minded to have played the coward, I could have escaped, and kept out of his hands. For when I was come to my friend's house, there was whispering that that day I should be taken, for there was a warrant out to take me; which when my friend heard, he being somewhat timorous, questioned whether we had best have our meeting or not; and whether it might not be better for me to depart, lest they should take me and have me before the justice, and after that send me to prison, for he knew better than I what spirit they were of, living by them; to whom I said, No, by no means, I will not stir, neither will I have the meeting dismissed for this. Come, be of good cheer, let us not be daunted; our cause is good, we need not be

1. The text from which he intended to preach was `Dost thou believe on the Son of God?' (Joh 9:35). From this he intended to show the absolute need of faith in Jesus Christ; and that it was also a thing of the highest concern for men to inquire into, and to ask their own hearts, whether they had it or no. See Preface to his Confession of Faith.—Ed.

ashamed of it; to preach God's Word is so good a work, that we shall be well rewarded, if we suffer for that; or to this purpose; but as for my friend, I think he was more afraid of [for] me, than of himself. After this I walked into the close, where, I somewhat seriously considering the matter, this came into my mind, That I had showed myself hearty and courageous in my preaching, and had, blessed be grace, made it my business to encourage others; therefore, thought I, if I should now run, and make an escape, it will be of a very ill savour in the country. For what will my weak and newly converted brethren think of it, but that I was not so strong indeed as I was in word? Also I feared that if I should run, now there was a warrant out for me, I might by so doing make them afraid to stand, when great words only should be spoken to them. Besides, I thought, that seeing God of his mercy should choose me to go upon the forlorn hope in this country; that is, to be the first, that should be opposed, for the gospel; if I should fly, it might be a discouragement to the whole body that might follow after. And further, I thought the world thereby would take occasion at my cowardliness, to have blasphemed the gospel, and to have had some ground to suspect worse of me and my profession than I deserved. These things with others considered by me, I came in again to the house, with a full resolution to keep the meeting, and not to go away, though I could have been gone about an hour before the officer apprehended me; but I would not; for I was resolved to see the utmost of what they could say or do unto me. For blessed be the Lord, I knew of no evil that I had said or done. And so, as aforesaid, I began the meeting. But being prevented by the constable's coming in with his warrant to take me, I could not proceed. But before I went away, I spake some few words of counsel and encouragement to the people, declaring to them, that they saw we were prevented of our opportunity to speak and hear the Word of God, and were like to suffer for the same: desiring them that they should not be discouraged, for it was a mercy to suffer upon so good account. For we might have been apprehended as thieves or murderers, or for other wickedness; but blessed be God it was not so, but we suffer as Christians for well doing: and we had better be the persecuted than the persecutors, &c. But the constable and the justice's man waiting on us, would not be at quiet till they had me away, and that we departed the house. But because the justice was not at home that day, there was a friend of mine engaged for me to bring me to the constable on the morrow morning. Otherwise the constable must have charged a watch with me, or have secured me some other ways, my crime was so great. So on the next morning we went to the constable, and so the justice.2 He asked the constable what we did, where we were met together, and what we had with us? I trow, he meant whether we had armour or not; but when the constable told him, that there were only met a few of us together to preach and hear the Word, and no sign of anything else, he could not well tell what to say: yet because he had sent for me, he did adventure to put out a few proposals to me, which were to this effect, namely, What I did there? and why I did not content myself with following my calling? for it was against the law, that such as I should be admitted to do as I did.

2 Justice Wingate.

John Bunyan. To which I answered, that the intent of my coming thither, and to other places, was to instruct, and counsel people to forsake their sins, and close in with Christ, lest they did miserably perish; and that I could do both these without confusion, to wit, follow my calling, and preach the Word also. At which words, he was in a chafe,3 as it appeared; for he said that he would break the neck of our meetings.

3 'Chafe.' See 2Sa 17:8.—Ed.

Bun. I said, it may be so. Then he wished me to get sureties to be bound for me, or else he would send me to the jail.

My sureties being ready, I called them in, and when the bond for my appearance was made, he told them, that they were bound to keep me from preaching; and that if I did preach, their bonds would be forfeited. To which I answered, that then I should break them; for I should not leave speaking the Word of God: even to counsel, comfort, exhort, and teach the people among whom I came; and I thought this to be a work that had no hurt in it: but was rather worthy of commendation than blame.

Wingate. Whereat he told me, that if they would not be so bound, my mittimus must be made, and I sent to the jail, there to lie to the quarter-sessions.

Now while my mittimus was making, the justice was withdrawn; and in comes an old enemy to the truth, Dr. Lindale, who, when he was come in, fell to taunting at me with many reviling terms.

Bun. To whom I answered, that I did not come thither to talk with him, but with the justice. Whereat he supposed that I had nothing to say for myself, and triumphed as if he had got the victory; charging and condemning me for meddling with that for which I could show no warrant; and asked me, if I had taken the oaths? and if I had not, it was pity but that I should be sent to prison, &c.

I told him, that if I was minded, I could answer to any sober question that he should put to me. He then urged me again, how I could prove it lawful for me to preach, with a great deal of confidence of the victory.

But at last, because he should see that I could answer him if I listed, I cited to him that verse in Peter, which saith(1Pe 4:10), "As every man hath received the gift, even so let him minister the same,”&c.

Lind. Aye, saith he, to whom is that spoken?

Bun. To whom, said I, why, to every man that hath received a gift from God. Mark, saith the apostle, "As every man that hath received a gift from God,”&c. And again, "You may all prophesy one by one.”Whereat the man was a little stopt, and went a softlier pace: but not being willing to lose the day, he began again, and said:

Lind. Indeed I do remember that I have read of one Alexander a coppersmith, who did much oppose and disturb the apostles;—aiming, it is like, at me, because I was a tinker.

Bun. To which I answered, that I also had read of very many priests and Pharisees that had their hands in the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Lind. Aye, saith he, and you are one of those scribes and Pharisees: for you, with a pretence, make long prayers to devour widows' houses.

Bun. I answered, that if he had got no more by preaching and praying than I had done, he would not be so rich as he now was. But that scripture coming into my mind, "Answer not a fool according to his folly,”I was as sparing of my speech as I could, without prejudice to truth.

Now by this time my mittimus was made, and I committed to the constable to be sent to the jail in Bedford, &c.

But as I was going, two of my brethren met with me by the way, and desired the constable to stay, supposing that they should prevail with the justice, through the favour of a pretended friend, to let me go at liberty. So we did stay, while they went to the justice; and after much discourse with him, it came to this; that if I would come to him again, and say some certain words to him, I should be released. Which when they told me, I said if the words were such that might be said with a good conscience, I should, or, else, I should not. So through their importunity I went back again, but not believing that I should be delivered: for I feared their spirit was too full of opposition to the truth to let me go, unless I should in something or other dishonour my God, and wound my conscience. Wherefore, as I went, I lifted up my heart to God for light and strength to be kept, that I might not do anything that might either dishonour him, or wrong my own soul, or be a grief or discouragement to any that was inclining after the Lord Jseus Christ.

Well, when I came to the justice again, there was Mr. Foster of Bedford, who coming out of another room, and seeing of me by the light of the candle, for it was dark night when I came thither, he said unto me, Who is there? John Bunyan? with such seeming affection, as if he would have leaped in my neck and kissed4 me, which made me somewhat wonder, that such a man as he, with whom I had so little acquaintance, and, besides, that had ever been a close opposer of the ways of God, should carry himself so full of love to me; but, afterwards, when I saw what he did, it caused me to remember those sayings, "Their tongues are smoother than oil, but their words are drawn swords.”And again, "Beware of men,”&c. when I had answered him, that blessed be God I was well, he said, What is the occasion of your being here? or to that purpose. To whom I answered, that I was at a meeting of people a little way off, intending to speak a word of exhortation to them; but the justice hearing thereof, said I, was pleased to send his warrant to fetch me before him, &c.

4 A right Judas.—Ed.

Foster. So, said he, I understand; but well, if you will promise to call the people no more together, you shall have your liberty to go home; for my brother is very loath to send you to prison, if you will be but ruled.

Bun. Sir, said I, pray what do you mean by calling the people together? My business is not anything among them, when they are come together, but to exhort them to look after the salvation of their souls, that they may be saved, &c.

Fost. Saith he, We must not enter into explication or dispute now; but if you will say you will call the people no more together, you may have your liberty; if not, you must be sent away to prison.

Bun. Sir, said I, I shall not force or compel any man to hear me; but yet, if I come into any place where there is a people met together, I should, according to the best of my skill and wisdom, exhort and counsel them to seek out after the Lord Jesus Christ, for the salvation of their souls.

Fost. He said, that was none of my work; I must follow my calling; and if I would but leave off preaching, and follow my calling, I should have the justice's favour, and be acquitted presently.

Bun. To whom I said, that I could follow my calling and that too, namely, preaching the Word; and I did look upon it as my duty to do them both, as I had an opportunity.

Fost. He said, to have any such meetings was against the law; and, therefore, he would have me leave off, and say I would call the people no more together.

Bun. To whom I said, that I durst not make any further promise; for my conscience would not suffer me to do it. And again, I did look upon it as my duty to do as much good as I could, not only in my trade, but also in communicating to all people, wheresoever I came, the best knowledge I had in the Word.

Fost. He told me that I was the nearest the Papists of any, and that he would convince me of immediately.

Bun. I asked him wherein?

Fost. He said, in that we understood the Scriptures literally.

Bun. I told him that those that were to be understood literally, we understood them so; but for those that were to be understood otherwise, we endeavoured so to understand them.

Fost. He said, which of the Scriptures do you understand literally?

Bun. I said this, "he that believeth shall be saved.”This was to be understood just as it is spoken; that whosoever believeth in Christ shall, according to the plain and simple words of the text, be saved.

Fost. He said that I was ignorant, and did not understand the Scriptures; for how, said he, can you understand them when you know not the original Greek? &c.

Bun. To whom I said, that if that was his opinion, that none could understand the Scriptures but those that had the original Greek, &c., then but a very few of the poorest sort should be saved; this is harsh; yet the Scripture saith, "That God hides these things from the wise and prudent,”that is, from the learned of the world, "and reveals them to babes and sucklings."

Fost. He said there were none that heard me but a company of foolish people.

Bun. I told him that there were the wise as well as the foolish that do hear me; and again, those that are most commonly counted foolish by the world are the wisest before God; also, that God had rejected the wise, and mighty, and noble, and chosen the foolish and the base.

Fost. He told me that I made people neglect their calling; and that God had commanded people to work six days, and serve him on the seventh.

Bun. I told him that it was the duty of people, both rich and poor, to look out for their souls on those days as well as for their bodies; and that God would have his people "exhort one another daily, while it is called to-day."

Fost. He said again that there was none but a company of poor, simple, ignorant people that came to hear me.

Bun. I told him that the foolish and ignorant had most need of teaching and information; and, therefore, it would be profitable for me to go on in that work.

Fost. Well, said he, to conclude, but will you promise that you will not call the people together any more? and then you may be released and go home.

Bun. I told him that I durst say no more than I had said; for I durst not leave off that work which God had called me to.

So he withdrew from me, and then came several of the justice's servants to me, and told me that I stood so much upon a nicety. Their master, they said, was willing to let me go; and if I would but say I would call the people no more together, I might have my liberty, &c.

Bun. I told them there were more ways than one in which a man might be said to call the people together. As, for instance, if a man get upon the market place, and there read a book, or the like, though he do not say to the people, Sirs, come hither and hear; yet if they come to him because he reads, he, by his very reading, may be said to call them together; because they would not have been there to hear if he had not been there to read. And seeing this might be termed a calling the people together, I durst not say I would not call them together; for then, by the same argument, my preaching might be said to call them together.

Wing. and Fost. Then came the justice and Mr. Foster to me again; we had a little more discourse about preaching, but because the method of it is out of my mind, I pass it; and when they saw that I was at a point, and would not be moved nor persuaded,

Mr. Foster, the man that did at the first express so much love to me, told the justice that then he must send me away to prison. And that he would do well, also, if he would present all those that were the cause of my coming among them to meetings. Thus we parted.

And, verily, as I was going forth of the doors, I had much ado to forbear saying to them that I carried the peace of God along with me; but I held my peace, and, blessed be the Lord, went away to prison, with God's comfort in my poor soul.

After I had lain in the jail five or six days, the brethren sought means, again, to get me out by bondsmen; for so ran my mittimus, that I should lie there till I could find sureties. They went to a justice at Elstow, one Mr. Crumpton, to desire him to take bond for my appearing at the quarter-sessions. At the first he told them he would; but afterwards he made a demur at the business, and desired first to see my mittimus, which run to this purpose: That I went about to several conventicles in this county, to the great disparagement of the government of the church of England, &c. When he had seen it, he said that there might be something more against me than was expressed in my mittimus; and that he was but a young man, and, therefore, he durst not do it. This my jailer told me; whereat I was not at all daunted, but rather glad, and saw evidently that the Lord had heard me; for before I went down to the justice, I begged of God that if I might do more good by being at liberty than in prison, that then I might be set at liberty; but if not, his will be done; for I was not altogether without hopes but that my imprisonment might be an awakening to the saints in the country, therefore I could not tell well which to choose; only I, in that manner, did commit the thing to God. And verily, at my return, I did meet my God sweetly in the prison again, comforting of me and satisfying of me that it was his will and mind that I should be there.5

5. 'How little could Bunyan dream, that from the narrow cell in which he was incarcerated, and cut off apparently from all usefulness, a glory would shine out, illustrating the government and grace of God, and doing more good to man, than all the prelates of the kingdom put together had accomplished.'—Dr. Cheever.

When I came back again to prison, as I was musing at the slender answer of the justice, this word dropt in upon my heart with some life, "For he knew that for envy they had delivered him."

Thus have I, in short, declared the manner and occasion of my being in prison; where I lie waiting the good will of God, to do with me as he pleaseth; knowing that not one hair of my head can fall to the ground without the will of my Father which is in heaven. Let the rage and malice of men be never so great, they can do no more, nor go no further, than God permits them; but when they have done their worst, "We know that all things work together for good to them that love God”(Ro 8:28). Farewell.

Here is the sum of my Examination before Justice Keelin, Justice Chester, Justice Blundale, Justice Beecher, and Justice Snagg, &c.

After I had lain in prison above seven weeks, the quarter-sessions was to be kept in Bedford, for the county thereof, unto which I was to be brought; and when my jailer had set me before those justices, there was a bill of indictment preferred against me. The extent thereof was as followeth: 'That John Bunyan, of the town of Bedford, labourer, being a person of such and such conditions, he hath, since such a time, devilishly and perniciously abstained from coming to church to hear Divine service, and is a common upholder of several unlawful meetings and conventicles, to the great disturbance and distraction of the good subjects of this kingdom, contrary to the laws of our sovereign lord the King,' &c.

The Clerk. When this was read, the clerk of the sessions said unto me, What say you to this?

Bun. I said, that as to the first part of it, I was a common frequenter of the church of God. And was also, by grace, a member with the people over whom Christ is the Head.

Keelin. But, saith Justice Keelin, who was the judge in that court? Do you come to church, you know what I mean; to the parish church, to hear Divine service?

Bun. I answered, No, I did not.

Keel. He asked me why?

Bun. I said, Because I did not find it commanded in the Word of God.

Keel. He said, We were commanded to pray.

Bun. I said, But not by the Common Prayer Book.

Keel. He said, How then?

Bun. I said, With the Spirit. As the apostle saith, "I will pray with the Spirit, and — with the understanding”(1Co 14:15).

Keel. He said, We might pray with the Spirit, and with the understanding, and with the Common Prayer Book also.

Bun. I said that the prayers in the Common Prayer Book were such as were made by other men, and not by the motions of the Holy Ghost, within our hearts; and as I said, the apostle saith, he will pray with the Spirit, and with the understanding; not with the Spirit and the Common Prayer Book.

Another Justice. What do you count prayer? Do you think it is to say a few words over before or among a people?

Bun. I said, No, not so; for men might have many elegant, or excellent words, and yet not pray at all; but when a man prayeth, he Both, through a sense of those things which he wants, which sense is begotten by the Spirit, pour out his heart before God through Christ; though his words be not so many and so excellent as others are.

Justices. They said, That was true.

Bun. I said, This might be done without the Common Prayer Book.

Another. One of them said (I think it was Justice Blundale, or Justice Snagg), How should we know that you do not write out your prayers first, and then read them afterwards to the people? This he spake in a laughing way.

Bun. I said, It is not our use, to take a pen and paper, and write a few words thereon, and then go and read it over to a company of people.

But how should we know it, said he?

Bun. Sir, it is none of our custom, said I.

Keel. But, said Justice Keelin, it is lawful to use Common Prayer, and such like forms: for Christ taught his disciples to pray, as John also taught his disciples. And further, said he, cannot one man teach another to pray? "Faith comes by hearing"; and one man may convince another of sin, and therefore prayers made by men, and read over, are good to teach, and help men to pray.

While he was speaking these words, God brought that word into my mind, in Ro 8:26. I say, God brought it, for I thought not on it before: but as he was speaking, it came so fresh into my mind, and was set so evidently before me, as if the scripture had said, Take me, take me; so when he had done speaking,

Bun. I said, Sir, the Scripture saith, that it is the Spirit that helpeth our infirmities; for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us, with [sighs and] groanings which cannot be uttered. Mark, said I, it doth not say the Common Prayer Book teacheth us how to pray, but the Spirit. And it is "the Spirit that helpeth our infirmities,”saith the apostle; he doth not say it is the Common Prayer Book.

And as to the Lord's prayer, although it be an easy thing to say, "Our Father,”&c., with the mouth; yet there are very few that can, in the Spirit, say the two first words in that prayer; that is, that can call God their Father, as knowing what it is to be born again, and a having experience, that they are begotten of the Spirit of God; which if they do not, all is but babbling, &c.6

6 It is easy to say a prayer, but difficult truly to pray. It is not length, not eloquence, that makes prayer. Though there be no more than 'My Father!' if the heart rise with it, that is prayer. 'Prayer is an offering up of our DESIRES unto God.'—Ed.

Keel. Justice Keelin said, that that was a truth.

Bun. And I say further, as to your saying that one man may convince another of sin, and that faith comes by hearing, and that one man may tell another how he should pray, &c., I say men may tell each other of their sins, but it is the Spirit that must convince them.

And though it be said that "faith comes by hearing,”yet it is the Spirit that worketh faith in the heart through hearing, or else they are not profited by hearing (Heb 4:12).

And that though one man may tell another how he should pray; yet, as I said before, he cannot pray, nor make his condition known to God, except the Spirit help. It is not the Common Prayer Book that can do this. It is the Spirit that showeth us our sins, and the Spirit that showeth us a Saviour (Joh 16:16); and the Spirit that stirreth up in our hearts desires to come to God, for such things as we stand in need of (Mt 11:27), even sighing out our souls unto him for them with "groans which cannot be uttered.”With other words to the same purpose. At this they were set.

Keel. But, says Justice Keelin, what have you against the Common Prayer Book?

Bun. I said, Sir, if you will hear me, I shall lay down my reasons against it.

Keel. He said, I should have liberty; but first, said he, let me give you one caution; take heed of speaking irreverently of the Common Prayer Book; for if you do so, you will bring great damage upon yourself.

Bun. So I proceeded, and said, My first reason was, because it was not commanded in the Word of God, and therefore I could not use it.

Another. One of them said, Where do you find it commanded in the Scripture, that you should go to Elstow, or Bedford, and yet it is lawful to go to either of them, is it not?

Bun. I said, To go to Elstow, or Bedford, was a civil thing, and not material, though not commanded, and yet God's Word allowed me to go about my calling, and therefore if it lay there, then to go thither, &c. But to pray, was a great part of the Divine worship of God, and therefore it ought to be done according to the rule of God's Word.

Another. One of them said, He will do harm; let him speak no further.

Keel. Justice Keelin said, No, no, never fear him, we are better established than so; he can do no harm; we know the Common Prayer Book hath been ever since the apostles' time, and is lawful for it to be used in the church.

Bun. I said, Show me the place in the epistles where the Common Prayer Book is written, or one text of Scripture that commands me to read it, and I will use it. But yet, notwithstanding, said I, they that have a mind to use it, they have their liberty;7 that is, I would not keep them from it; but for our parts, we can pray to God without it. Blessed be his name.

7 It is not the spirit of a Christian to persecute any for their religion, but to pity them; and if they will turn, to instruct them.—Ed.

With that, one of them said, Who is your God? Beelzebub? Moreover, they often said that I was possessed with the spirit of delusion, and of the devil. All which sayings I passed over; the Lord forgive them! And further, I said, blessed be the Lord for it, we are encouraged to meet together, and to pray, and exhort one another; for we have had the comfortable presence of God among us. For ever blessed be his holy name!

Keel. Justice Keelin called this pedlar's French, saying, that I must leave off my canting. The Lord open his eyes!

Bun. I said, that we ought to "exhort one another daily, while it is called to-day,”&c. (Heb 3:13).

Keel. Justice Keelin said, that I ought not to preach; and asked me where I had my authority? with other such like words.

Bun. I said, that I would prove that it was lawful for me, and such as I am, to preach the Word of God.

Keel. He said unto me, By what scripture?

I said, By that in 1Pe 4:10 and Ac 18 with other scriptures, which he would not suffer me to mention. But said, Hold; not so many, which is the first?

Bun. I said, this: "As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God,”&c.

Keel. He said, Let me a little open that scripture to you: 'As every man hath received the gift'; that is, said he, as every one hath received a trade, so let him follow it. If any man have received a gift of tinkering, as thou hast done, let him follow his tinkering. And so other men their trades; and the divine his calling, &c.

Bun. Nay, Sir, said I, but it is most clear, that the apostle speaks here of preaching the Word; if you do but compare both the verses together, the next verse explains this gift what it is, saying, 'If any man speak let him speak as the oracles of God.' So that it is plain, that the Holy Ghost Both not so much in this place exhort to civil callings, as to the exercising of those gifts that we have received from God. I would have gone on, but he would not give me leave.

Keel. He said, We might do it in our families, but not otherwise.

Bun. I said, If it was lawful to do good to some, it was lawful to do good to more. If it was a good duty to exhort our families, it is good to exhort others; but if they held it a sin to meet together to seek the face of God, and exhort one another to follow Christ, I should sin still; for so we should do.

Keel. He said he was not so well versed in Scripture as to dispute, or words to that purpose. And said, moreover, that they could not wait upon me any longer; but said to me, Then you confess the indictment, do you not? Now, and not till now, I saw I was indicted.

Bun. I said, This I confess, we have had many meetings together, both to pray to God, and to exhort one another, and that we had the sweet comforting presence of the Lord among us for our encouragement; blessed be his name therefore. I confessed myself guilty no otherwise.

Keel. Then, said he, hear your judgment. You must be had back again to prison, and there lie for three months following; and at three months' end, if you do not submit to go to church to hear Divine service, and leave your preaching, you must be banished the realm: and if, after such a day as shall be appointed you to be gone, you shall be found in this realm, &c., or be found to come over again without special license from the king, &c.,8 you must stretch by the neck for it, I tell you plainly; and so bid my jailer have me away. 

8 The statute under which Bunyan suffered is the 3.5th Eliz., cap. 1, re-enacted with all its rigour in the 16th Charles II, cap. 4, 1662; 'That if any person, above sixteen years of age, shall forbear coming to church for one month, or persuade any other person to abstain from hearing Divine service, or receiving the communion according to law, or come to any unlawful assembly, conventicle, or meeting—every such person shall be imprisoned, without bail, until he conform, and do in some church make this open submission following:—I do humbly confess and acknowledge that I have grievously offended God in contemning his Majesty's godly and lawful government and authority, by absenting myself from church, and from hearing Divine service, contrary to the godly laws and statutes of this realm. And in using and frequenting disordered and unlawful conventicles and assemblies, under pretence and colour of exercise of religion; and I am heartily sorry for the same. And I do promise and protest, that from henceforth I will, from time to time, obey and perform his Majesty's laws and statutes, in repairing to the church and Divine services, and do my uttermost endeavour to maintain and defend the same. And for the third offence he shall be sent to the jail or house of correction, there to remain until the next sessions or assizes, and then to be indicted; and being thereupon found guilty, the court shall enter judgment of transportation against such offenders, to some of the foreign plantations (Virginia and New England only excepted), there to remain seven years; and warrants shall issue to sequester the profits of their lands, and to distrain and sell their goods to defray the charges of their transportation; and for want of such charges being paid, the sheriff may contract with any master of a ship, or merchant, to transport them; and then such prisoner shall be a servant to the transporter or his assigns; that is, whoever he will sell him or her to, for five years. And if any under such judgment of transportation shall escape, or being transported, return into any part of England, shall SUFFER DEATH as felons, without benefit of clergy.' Notwithstanding this edict, mark well his words on the next leaf, 'Exhorting the people of God to take heed, and touch not the Common Prayer.' Englishmen, blush! This is now the law of the land we live in. Roman Catholics alone are legally exempted from its cruel operations, by an Act passed in 1844. The overruling hand of God alone saved the pious and holy Bunyan from having been legally murdered.—Ed.

Bun. I told him, as to this matter, I was at a point with him; for if I was out of prison to-day I would preach the gospel again to-morrow, by the help of God.

Another. To which one made me some answer; but my jailer pulling me away to be gone, I could not tell what he said.

Thus I departed from them; and I can truly say, I bless the Lord Jesus Christ for it, that my heart was sweetly refreshed in the time of my examination; and also afterwards, at my returning to the prison. So that I found Christ's words more than bare trifles, where he saith, "I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which all your adversaries shall not be able to gainsay nor resist”(Lu 21:15). And that his peace no man can take from us.

Thus have I given you the substance of my examination. The Lord make these profitable to all that shall read or hear them. Farewell.

The Substance of some Discourse had between the Clerk of the Peace and myself, when he came to admonish me, according to the tenor of that Law by which I was in Prison.

When I had lain in prison other twelve weeks, and now not knowing what they intended to do with me, upon the 3rd of April 1661, comes Mr. Cobb unto me, as he told me, being sent by the justices to admonish me; and demanded of me submittance to the Church of England, &c. The extent of our discourse was as followeth:—

Cobb. When he was come into the house he sent for me out of my chamber; who, when I was come unto him, he said, Neighbour

Bunyan, how do you do?

Bun. I thank you, Sir, said I, very well, blessed be the Lord.

Cobb. Saith he, I come to tell you that it is desired you would submit yourself to the laws of the land, or else at the next sessions it will go worse with you, even to be sent away out of the nation, or else worse than that.

Bun. I said that I did desire to demean myself in the world, both as becometh a man and a Christian.

Cobb. But, saith he, you must submit to the laws of the land, and leave off those meetings which you was wont to have; for the statute law is directly against it; and I am sent to you by the justices to tell you that they do intend to prosecute the law against you if you submit not.

Bun. I said, Sir, I conceive that that law by which I am in prison at this time Both not reach or condemn either me or the meetings which I do frequent; that law was made against those that, being designed to do evil in their meetings, making the exercise of religion their pretence, to cover their wickedness. It doth not forbid the private meetings of those that plainly and simply make it their only end to worship the Lord, and to exhort one another to edification. My end in meeting with others is simply to do as much good as I can, by exhortation and counsel, according to that small measure of light which God hath given me, and not to disturb the peace of the nation.

Cobb. Every one will say the same, said he; you see the late insurrection at London, under what glorious pretences they went; and yet, indeed, they intended no less than the ruin of the kingdom and commonwealth.9

9 The contemptible and mad insurrection to which Mr. Cobb refers, was the pretext for fearful sufferings to the Dissenters throughout the kingdom. It is thus narrated by Bishop Burnet, 1660:—The king had not been many days at Whitehall, when one Venner, a violent fifth-monarchy man, who thought it was not enough to believe that Christ was to reign on earth, and to put the saints in possession of the kingdom, but added to this that the saints were to take the kingdom themselves. He gathered some of the most furious of the party to a meeting in Coleman Street. There they concerted the day and the manner of their rising, to set Christ on his throne, as they called it. But withal they meant to manage the government in his name, and were so formal that they had prepared standards and colours, with their devices on them, and furnished themselves with very good arms. But when the day came, there was but a small appearance, not exceeding twenty. However, they resolved to venture out into the streets, and cry out, No king but Christ. Some of them seemed persuaded that Christ would come down and head them. They scoured the streets before them, and made a great progress. Some were afraid, and all were amazed at this piece of extravagance. They killed a great many, but were at last mastered by numbers; and were all either killed or taken and executed.—(Burnet's Own Times, 1660, vol. i. p. 160).—Ed.

Bun. That practice of theirs I abhor, said I; yet it doth not follow that, because they did so, therefore all others will do so. I look upon it as my duty to behave myself under the King's government, both as becomes a man and a Christian, and if an occasion were offered me, I should willingly manifest my loyalty to my Prince, both by word and deed.

Cobb. Well, said he, I do not profess myself to be a man that can dispute; but this I say, truly, neighbour Bunyan, I would have you consider this matter seriously, and submit yourself; you may have your liberty to exhort your neighbour in private discourse, so be you do not call together an assembly of people; and, truly, you may do much good to the church of Christ, if you would go this way; and this you may do, and the law not abridge you of it. It is your private meetings that the law is against.

Bun. Sir, said I, if I may do good to one by my discourse, why may I not do good to two? and if to two, why not to four, and so to eight? &c.

Cobb. Ay, saith he, and to a hundred, I warrant you.

Bun. Yes, Sir, said I, I think I should not be forbid to do as much good as I can.

Cobb. But, saith he, you may but pretend to do good, and indeed, notwithstanding, do harm, by seducing the people; you are, therefore, denied your meeting so many together, lest you should do harm.

Bun. And yet, said I, you say the law tolerates me to discourse with my neighbour; surely there is no law tolerates me to seduce any one; therefore, if I may, by the law, discourse with one, surely it is to do him good; and if I, by discoursing, may do good to one, surely, by the same law, I may do good to many.

Cobb. The law, saith he, doth expressly forbid your private meetings; therefore they are not to be tolerated.

Bun. I told him that I would not entertain so much uncharitableness of that Parliament in the 35th of Elizabeth, or of the Queen herself, as to think they did, by that law, intend the oppressing of any of God's ordinances, or the interrupting any in the way of God; but men may, in the wresting of it, turn it against the way of God; but take the law in itself, and it only fighteth against those that drive at mischief in their hearts and meetings, making religion only their cloak, colour, or pretence; for so are the words of the statute: 'If any meetings, under colour or pretence of religion,' &c.10

10 The third section of 16th Charles II, cap. 4, also enacts, 'That any person above sixteen years old, present at any meeting under pretence of exercise of religion, in other manner than is allowed by the liturgy or practice of the Church of England, where there shall be present five persons or more above those of the household, upon proof thereof made, either by confession of the party, or oath of witness, or notorious evidence of the fact; the offence shall be recorded under the hands of two justices, or the chief magistrate of the place, which shall be a perfect conviction.'—Ed.

Cobb. Very good; therefore the king, seeing that pretences are usually in and among people, as to make religion their pretence only, therefore he, and the law before him, doth forbid such private meetings, and tolerates only public; you may meet in public.

Bun. Sir, said I, let me answer you in a similitude: Set the case that, at such a wood corner, there did usually come forth thieves, to do mischief; must there therefore a law be made that every one that cometh out there shall be killed? May there not come out true men as well as thieves out from thence? Just thus it is in this case; I do think there may be many that may design the destruction of the commonwealth; but it does not follow therefore that all private meetings are unlawful; those that transgress, let them be punished. And if at any time I myself should do any act in my conversation as doth not become a man and Christian, let me bear the punishment. And as for your saying I may meet in public, if I may be suffered, I would gladly do it. Let me have but meeting enough in public, and I shall care the less to have them in private. I do not meet in private because I am afraid to have meetings in public. I bless the Lord that my heart is at that point, that if any man can lay anything to my charge, either in doctrine or practice, in this particular, that can be proved error or heresy, I am willing to disown it, even in the very market place; but if it be truth, then to stand to it to the last drop of my blood. And, Sir, said I, you ought to commend me for so doing. To err and to be a heretic are two things; I am no heretic, because I will not stand refractorily to defend any one thing that is contrary to the Word. Prove anything which I hold to be an error, and I will recant it.

Cobb. But, Goodman Bunyan, said he, methinks you need not stand so strictly upon this one thing, as to have meetings of such public assemblies. Cannot you submit, and, notwithstanding, do as much good as you can, in a neighbourly way, without having such meetings?

Bun. Truly, Sir, said I, I do not desire to commend myself, but to think meanly of myself; yet when I do most despise myself, taking notice of that small measure of light which God hath given me, also that the people of the Lord, by their own saying, are edified thereby. Besides, when I see that the Lord, through grace, hath in some measure blessed my labour, I dare not but exercise that gift which God hath given me for the good of the people. And I said further, that I would willingly speak in public, if I might.

Cobb. He said, that I might come to the public assemblies and hear. What though you do not preach? you may hear. Do not think yourself so well enlightened, and that you have received a gift so far above others, but that you may hear other men preach. Or to that purpose.

Bun. I told him, I was as willing to be taught as to give instruction, and looked upon it as my duty to do both; for, saith I, a man that is a teacher, he himself may learn also from another that teacheth, as the apostle saith: "Ye may all prophesy, one by one, that all may learn”(1Co 14:31). That is, every man that hath received a gift from God, he may dispense it, that others may be comforted; and when he hath done, he may hear and learn, and be comforted himself of others.

Cobb. But, said he, what if you should forbear awhile, and sit still, till you see further how things will go?

Bun. Sir, said I, Wicliffe saith, that he which leaveth off preaching and hearing of the Word of God for fear of excommunication of men, he is already excommunicated of God, and shall in the day of judgment be counted a traitor to Christ.11

11 As Wicliffe wrote in Latin, and his words were of great rarity, it may excite inquiry how poor Bunyan was conversant with is opinions. This is easily solved. Foxe gives a translation of Wicliffe's doctrines in his Martyrology, the favourite book of Bunyan.—Ed.

Cobb. Ay, saith he, they that do not hear shall be so counted indeed; do you, therefore, hear.

Bun. But, Sir, said I, he saith, he that shall leave off either preaching or hearing, &c. That is, if he hath received a gift for edification, it is his sin, if he doth not lay it out in a way of exhortation and counsel, according to the proportion of his gift; as well as to spend his time altogether in hearing others preach.

Cobb. But, said he, how shall we know that you have received a gift?

Bun. Said I, Let any man hear and search, and prove the doctrine by the Bible.

Cobb. But will you be willing, said he, that two indifferent persons shall determine the case, and will you stand by their judgment?

Bun. I said, Are they infallible?

Cobb. He said, No.

Bun. Then, said I, it is possible my judgment may be as good as theirs. But yet I will pass by either, and in this matter be judged by the Scriptures; I am sure that is infallible, and cannot err.

Cobb. But, said he, who shall be judge between you, for you take the Scriptures one way, and they another?

Bun. I said, The Scripture should, and that by comparing one scripture with another; for that will open itself, if it be rightly compared. As, for instance, if under the different apprehensions of the word Mediator, you would know the truth of it, the Scriptures open it, and tell us that he that is a mediator must take up the business between two, and "a mediator is not a mediator of one, but God is one,”and "there is one mediator between God and men, [even] the man Christ Jesus”(Ga 3:20; 1Ti 2:5). So likewise the Scripture calleth Christ a complete, or perfect, or able high priest. That is opened in that he is called man, and also God. His blood also is discovered to be effectually efficacious by the same things. So the Scripture, as touching the matter of meeting together, &c., doth likewise sufficiently open itself and discover its meaning.

Cobb. But are you willing, said he, to stand to the judgment of the church?

Bun. Yes, Sir, said I, to the approbation of the church of God; the church's judgment is best expressed in Scripture. We had much other discourse which I cannot well remember, about the laws of the nation, and submission to government; to which I did tell him, that I did look upon myself as bound in conscience to walk according to all righteous laws, and that whether there was a king or no; and if I did anything that was contrary, I did hold it my duty to bear patiently the penalty of the law, that was provided against such offenders; with many more words to the like effect. And said, moreover, that to cut off all occasions of suspicion from any, as touching the harmlessness of my doctrine in private, I would willingly take the pains to give any one the notes of all my sermons; for I do sincerely desire to live quietly in my country, and to submit to the present authority.

Cobb. Well, neighbour Bunyan, said he, but indeed I would wish you seriously to consider of these things, between this and the quarter-sessions, and to submit yourself. You may do much good if you continue still in the land; but alas, what benefit will it be to your friends, or what good can you do to them, if you should be sent away beyond the seas into Spain, or Constantinople, or some other remote part of the world? Pray be ruled.

Jailer. Indeed, Sir, I hope he will be ruled.

Bun. I shall desire, said I, in all godliness and honesty to behave myself in the nation, whilst I am in it. And if I must be so dealt withal, as you say, I hope God will help me to bear what they shall lay upon me. I know no evil that I have done in this matter, to be so used. I speak as in the presence of God.

Cobb. You know, saith he, that the Scripture saith, "the powers that be are ordained of God."

Bun. I said, yes, and that I was to submit to the king as supreme, also to the governors, as to them that are sent by him.

Cobb. Well then, said he, the King then commands you, that you should not have any private meetings; because it is against his law, and he is ordained of God, therefore you should not have any.

Bun. I told him that Paul did own the powers that were in his day, as to be of God; and yet he was often in prison under them for all that. And also, though Jesus Christ told Pilate, that he had no power against him, but of God, yet he died under the same Pilate; and yet, said I, I hope you will not say that either Paul, or Christ, were such as did deny magistracy, and so sinned against God in slighting the ordinance. Sir, said I, the law hath provided two ways of obeying: The one to do that which I, in my conscience, do believe that I am bound to do, actively; and where I cannot obey actively, there I am willing to lie down, and to suffer what they shall do unto me. At this he sat still, and said no more; which, when he had done, I did thank him for his civil and meek discoursing with me; and so we parted.

0 that we might meet in heaven!

Farewell. J.B.

Here followeth a discourse between my Wife and the Judges, with others, touching my Deliverance at the Assizes following; the which I took from her own Mouth.

After that I had received this sentence of banishing, or hanging, from them, and after the former admonition, touching the determination of the justices, if I did not recant; just when the time drew nigh, in which I should have abjured, or have done worse, as Mr. Cobb told me, came the time in which the King was to be crowned.12 Now, at the coronation of kings, there is usually a releasement of divers prisoners, by virtue of his coronation; in which privilege also I should have had my share; but that they took me for a convicted person, and therefore, unless I sued out a pardon, as they called it, I could have no benefit thereby; notwithstanding, yet, forasmuch as the coronation proclamation did give liberty, from the day the king was crowned to that day twelvemonth, to sue them out; therefore, though they would not let me out of prison, as they let out thousands, yet they could not meddle with me, as touching the execution of their sentence; because of the liberty offered for the suing out of pardons. Whereupon I continued in prison till the next assizes, which are called Midsummer assizes, being then kept in August 1661.

12 April 23, 1661.

Now, at that assizes, because I would not leave any possible means unattempted that might be lawful, I did, by my wife, present a petition to the judges three times, that I might be heard, and that they would impartially take my case into consideration.

The first time my wife went, she presented it to Judge Hale, who very mildly received it at her hand, telling her that he would do her and me the best good he could; but he feared, he said, he could do none. The next day, again, lest they should, through the multitude of business, forget me, we did throw another petition into the coach to Judge Twisdon; who, when he had seen it, snapt her up, and angrily told her that I was a convicted person, and could not be released, unless I would promise to preach no more, &c.

Well, after this, she yet again presented another to Judge Hale, as he sat on the bench, who, as it seemed, was willing to give her audience. Only Justice Chester being present, stept up and said, that I was convicted in the court and that I was a hot-spirited fellow, or words to that purpose, whereat he waived it, and did not meddle therewith. But yet, my wife being encouraged by the high sheriff, did venture once more into their presence, as the poor widow did to the unjust judge, to try what she could do with them for my liberty, before they went forth of the town. The place where she went to them was to the Swan Chamber, where the two judges, and many justices and gentry of the country, were in company together. She then, coming into the chamber with abashed face, and a trembling heart, began her errand to them in this manner:—

Woman. My Lord (directing herself to Judge Hale), I make bold to come once again to your Lordship, to know what may be done with my husband.

Judge Hale. To whom he said, Woman, I told thee before, I could do thee no good; because they have taken that for a conviction which thy husband spoke at the sessions; and unless there be something done to undo that, I can do thee no good.

Wom. My Lord, said she, he is kept unlawfully in prison; they clapped him up before there was any proclamation against the meetings; the indictment also is false. Besides, ,they never asked him whether he was guilty or no; neither did he confess the indictment.

One of the Justices. Then one of the justices that stood by, whom she knew not, said, My Lord, he was lawfully convicted.

Wom. It is false, said she; for when they said to him, Do you confess the indictment? he said only this, that he had been at several meetings, both where there was preaching the Word, and prayer, and that they had God's presence among them.

Judge Twisdon. Whereat Judge Twisdon answered very angrily, saying, 'What! you think we can do what we list; your husband is a breaker of the peace, and is convicted by the law,' &c. Whereupon Judge Hale called for the Statute Book.

Wom. But, said she, my Lord, he was not lawfully convicted.

Chester. Then Justice Chester said, 'My Lord, he was lawfully convicted.'

Wom. It is false, said she; it was but a word of discourse that they took for a conviction, as you heard before.

Chest. 'But it is recorded, woman, it is recorded,' said Justice Chester; as if it must be of necessity true, because it was recorded. With which words he often endeavoured to stop her mouth, having no other argument to convince her, but 'it is recorded, it is recorded.'13

13 See page 56, and note there.

Wom. My Lord, said she, I was a while since at London, to see if I could get my husband's liberty; and there I spoke with my Lord Barkwood, one of the House of Lords, to whom I delivered a petition, who took it of me and presented it to some of the rest of the House of Lords, for my husband's releasement: who, when they had seen it, they said that they could not release him, but had committed his releasement to the judges, at the next assizes. This he told me; and now I come to you to see if anything may be done in this business, and you give neither releasement nor relief. To which they gave her no answer, but made as if they heard her not.14

14 It is very probable that his persecutors knew the heroic spirit of this young woman, and were afraid to proceed to extremities, lest their blood-guiltiness should be known throughout the kingdom, and public execration be excited against them. Such a martyr's blood would indelibly and most foully have stained both them and their families to the latest generation.—Ed.

Chest. Only Justice Chester was often up with this, 'He is convicted,' and 'It is recorded.'

Wom. If it be, it is false, said she.

Chest. My Lord, said Justice Chester, he is a pestilent fellow, there is not such a fellow in the country again.

Twis. What, will your husband leave preaching? If he will do so, then send for him.

Wom. My Lord, said she, he dares not leave preaching, as long as he can speak.

Twis. See here, what should we talk any more about such a fellow? Must he do what he lists? He is a breaker of the peace.

Wom. She told him again, that he desired to live peaceably, and to follow his calling, that his family might be maintained; and, moreover, said, My Lord, I have four small children that cannot help themselves, of which one is blind, and have nothing to live upon, but the charity of good people.

Hale. Hast thou four children? said Judge Hale; thou art but a young woman to have four children.

Wom. My Lord, said she, I am but mother-in-law to them, having not been married to him yet full two years. Indeed, I was with child when my husband was first apprehended; but being young, and unaccustomed to such things, said she, I being smayed15 at the news, fell into labour, and so continued for eight days, and then was delivered, but my child died.16

15. `Smayed,' an obsolete contraction of 'dismayed:—Ed.

16 Bunyan is silent upon the death of his first wife and marriage to the second; in fact he forgets his own domestic affairs in his desire to record the Lord's gracious dealings with his soul. It is not his autobiography, but his religious feelings and experience, that he records.—Ed. 

Hale. Whereat, he looking very soberly on the matter, said, 'Alas, poor woman!'

Twis. But Judge Twisdon told her, that she made poverty her cloak; and said, moreover, that he understood I was maintained better by running up and down a preaching, than by following my calling.

Hale. What is his calling? said Judge Hale.

Answer. Then some of the company that stood by said, 'A tinker, my Lord.'

Wom. Yes, said she, and because he is a tinker, and a poor man, therefore he is despised, and cannot have justice.

Hale. Then Judge Hale answered, very mildly, saying, 'I tell thee, woman, seeing it is so, that they have taken what thy husband spake for a conviction; thou must either apply thyself to the King, or sue out his pardon, or get a writ of error.'

Chest. But when Justice Chester heard him give her this counsel; and especially, as she supposed, because he spoke of a writ of error, he chafed,17 and seemed to be very much offended; saying, 'My Lord, he will preach and do what he lists.'

17 'Chafed,' excited, inflamed, angry.—Ed.

Wom. He preacheth nothing but the Word of God, said she.

Twis. He preach the Word of God! said Twisdon; and withal she thought he would have struck her; he runneth up and down, and doth harm.

Wom. No, my Lord, said she, it is not so; God hath owned him, and done much good by him.

Twis. God! said he; his doctrine is the doctrine of the devil.

Wom. My Lord, said she, when the righteous Judge shall appear, it will be known that his doctrine is not the doctrine of the devil.

Twis. My Lord, said he, to Judge Hale, do not mind her, but send her away.

Hale. Then said Judge Hale, 'I am sorry, woman, that I can do thee no good; thou must do one of those three things aforesaid; namely, either to apply thyself to the King, or sue out his pardon, or get a writ of error; but a writ of error will be cheapest.'

Wom. At which Chester again seemed to be in a chafe, and put off his hat, and as she thought, scratched his head for anger: but when I saw, said she, that there was no prevailing to have my husband sent for, though I often desired them that they would send for him, that he might speak for himself, telling them, that he could give them better satisfaction than I could in what they demanded of him, with several other things, which now I forget; only this I remember, that though I was somewhat timorous at my first entrance into the chamber, yet before I went out, I could not but break forth into tears, not so much because they were so hard-hearted against me and my husband, but to think what a sad account such poor creatures will have to give at the coming of the Lord, when they shall there answer for al things whatsoever they have done in the body, whether it be good or whether it be bad.18

18 This is a beautiful specimen of real Christian feeling; nothing vindictive, although such cruel wrongs had been perpetrated against her beloved husband.—Ed.

So, when I departed from them, the Book of Statute was brought, but what they said of it I know nothing at all, neither did I hear any more from them.

Some Carriages of the Adversaries of God's Truth with me at the next Assizes, which was on the 196 of the First Month, 1662.

I shall pass by what befell between these two assizes, how I had, by my jailer, some liberty granted me, more than at the first, and how I followed my wonted course of preaching, taking all occasions that were put into my hand to visit the people of God; exhorting them to be steadfast in the faith of Jesus Christ, and to take heed that they touched not the Common Prayer, &c., but to mind the Word of God, which giveth direction to Christians in every point, being able to make the man of God perfect in all things through faith in Jesus Christ, and thoroughly to furnish him unto all good works (2Ti 3:17).19 Also, how I, having, I say, somewhat more liberty, did go to see Christians at London; which my enemies hearing of, were so angry, that they had almost cast my jailer out of his place, threatening to indict him, and to do what they could against him. They charged me also, that I went thither to plot and raise division, and make insurrection, which, God knows, was a slander; whereupon my liberty was more straitened than it was before: so that I must not look out of the door. Well, when the next sessions came, which was about the 10th of the eleventh month, I did expect to have been very roundly dealt withal; but they passed me by, and would not call me, so that I rested till the assizes, which was the 19th of the first month following; and when they came, because I had a desire to come before the judge, I desired my jailer to put my name into the calendar among the felons, and made friends of the judge and high sheriff, who promised that I should be called; so that I thought what I had done might have been effectual for the obtaining of my desire; but all was in vain: for when the assizes came, though my name was in the calendar, and also though both the judge and sheriff had promised that I should appear before them, yet the justices and the clerk of the peace did so work it about, that I, notwithstanding, was deferred, and might not appear; and although, I say, I do not know of all their carriages towards me, yet this I know, that the clerk of the peace did discover himself to be one of my greatest opposers: for, first, he came to my jailer, and told him that I must not go down before the judge, and therefore must not be put into the calendar; to whom my jailer said, that my name was in already. He bid him put me out again; my jailer told him that he could not, for he had given the judge a calendar with my name in it, and also the sheriff another. At which he was very much displeased, and desired to see that calendar that was yet in my jailer's hand; who, when he had given it him, he looked on it, and said it was a false calendar; he also took the calendar and blotted out my accusation, as my jailer had writ it. Which accusation I cannot tell what it was, because it was so blotted out; and he himself put in words to this purpose: 'That John Bunyan was committed to prison, being lawfully convicted for upholding of unlawful meetings and conventicles,' &c. But yet, for all this, fearing that what he had done, unless he added thereto, it would not do; he first run to the clerk of the assizes, then to the justices, and afterwards, because he would not leave any means unattempted to hinder me, he comes again to my jailer, and tells him, that if I did go down before the judge, and was released, he would make him pay my fees, which, he said, was due to him; and further told him, that he would complain of him at the next quarter sessions for making of false calendars; though my jailer himself, as I afterwards learned, had put in my accusation worse than in itself it was by far. And thus was I hindered and prevented, at that time also, from appearing before the judge, and left in prison. Farewell.

John Bunyan  

19 Nothing daunted by the cruel Statute which was then in force, Bunyan acted exactly as Peter and John did under similar circumstances, "We cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard”(Ac 4:20). If I suffer death for it, I am bound to speak the warning words of truth, "Touch not the unclean thing."—Ed.




Reader, the painful and industrious author of this book has already given you a faithful and very moving relation of the beginning and middle of the days of his pilgrimage on earth; and since there yet remains somewhat worthy of notice and regard, which occurred in the last scene of his life; the which, for want of time, or fear that some over-censorious people should impute it to him, as an earnest coveting of praise from men, he has not left behind him in writing. Wherefore, as a true friend and long acquaintance of Mr. Bunyan's, that his good end may be known as well as his evil beginning, I have taken upon me, from my knowledge, and the best account given by other of his friends, to piece this to the thread, too soon broke off, and so lengthen it out to his entering upon eternity.

He has told you at large of his birth and education; the evil habits and corruptions of his youth; the temptations he struggled and conflicted so frequently with; the mercies, comforts, and deliverances he found; how he came to take upon him the preaching of the gospel; the slanders, reproaches, and imprisonments that attended him; and the progress he notwithstanding made, by the assistance of God's grace, no doubt to the saving of many souls. Therefore take these things as he himself has methodically laid them down in the words of verity; and so I pass on as to what remains.

After his being freed from his twelve years' imprisonment and upwards, for nonconformity, wherein he had time to furnish the world with sundry good books, & c.; and, by his patience, to move Dr. Barlow, the then Bishop of Lincoln,1 and other churchmen, to pity his hard and unreasonable sufferings, so far as to stand very much his friends in procuring his enlargement, or there perhaps he had died by the noisesomeness and ill usage of the place; being now, I say, again at liberty, and having, through mercy, shaken off his bodily fetters, for those upon his soul were broken before, by the abounding grace that filled his heart, he went to visit those that had been a comfort to him in his tribulation, with a Christian-like acknowledgment of their kindness and enlargement of charity; giving encouragement by his example if it happened to be their hard haps to fall into affliction or trouble, then to suffer patiently for the sake of a good conscience, and for the love of God in Jesus Christ towards their souls; and, by many cordial persuasions, supported some whose spirits began to sink low through the fear of danger that threatened their worldly concernment, so that the people found a wonderful consolation in his discourse and admonitions.

1 Application was made to Bishop Barlow, through Dr. Owen, to use his powerful influence in obtaining liberty for this Christian captive; but he absolutely refused to interfere. See Preface to Owen's Sermons, 1721. Bunyan, upon his petition, heard by the king in council, was included in the pardon to the imprisoned and cruelly-treated Quakers. Whitehead, the Quaker, was the honoured instrument in releasing him.—Introduction to Pilgrim's Progress, Hanserd Knollys Edition.—Ed.  

As often as opportunity would admit, he gathered them together in convenient places, though the law was then in force against meetings, and fed them with the sincere milk of the Word, that they might grow up in grace thereby. To such as were anywhere taken and imprisoned upon these accounts, he made it another part of his business to extend his charity, and gather relief for such of them as wanted.

He took great care to visit the sick, and strengthen them against the suggestions of the tempter, which at such times are very prevalent; so that they had cause for ever to bless God, who had put into his heart, at such a time, to rescue them from the power of the roaring lion, who sought to devour them; nor did he spare any pains or labour in travel, though to the remote counties, where he knew, or imagined, any people might stand in need of his assistance, insomuch that some of these visitations that he made, which was two or three every year, some, though in jeering manner, no doubt, gave him the epithet of Bishop Bunyan, whilst others envied him for his so earnestly labouring in Christ's vineyard, yet the seed of the Word he, all this while, sowed in the hearts of his congregation, watered with the grace of God, brought forth in abundance, in bringing in disciples to the church of Christ.

Another part of his time he spent in reconciling differences, by which he hindered many mischiefs, and saved some families from ruin; and, in such fallings out, he was uneasy, till he found a means to labour a reconciliation, and become a peace maker, on whom a blessing is promised in Holy Writ: and, indeed, in doing this good office, he may be said to sum up his days, it being the last undertaking of his life, as will appear in the close of this paper.

When, in the late reign, liberty of conscience was unexpectedly given and indulged to Dissenters of all persuasions,2 his piercing with penetrated the veil, and found that it was not for the Dissenters' sake they were so suddenly freed from the prosecutions that had long lain heavy upon them, and set, in a manner, on an equal foot with the Church of England, which the Papists were undermining, and about to subvert. He foresaw all the advantages that could have redounded to the Dissenters, would have been no more than what Poliphemus, the monstrous giant of Sicily, would have allowed Ulysses, viz., That he would eat his men first, and do him the favour of being eaten last. For, although Mr. Bunyan, following the examples of others, did lay hold of this liberty, as an acceptable thing in itself, knowing that God is the only lord of conscience, and that it is good at all times to do according to the dictates of a good conscience, and that the preaching the glad tidings of the gospel is beautiful in the preacher; yet, in all this, he moved with caution and a holy fear, earnestly praying for averting the impendent judgments, which he saw, like a black tempest hanging over our heads, for our sins, and ready to break upon us, and that the Ninevites' remedy was now highly necessary. Hereupon, he gathered his congregation at Bedford, where he mostly lived, and had lived, and had spent the greatest part of his life; and there being no convenient place to be had, for the entertainment of so great a confluence of people as followed him, upon the account of his teaching, he consulted with them, for the building of a meeting house; to which they made their voluntary contributions, with all cheerfulness and alacrity; and the first time he appeared there to edify, the place was so thronged, that many were constrained to stay without, though the house was very spacious, every one striving to partake of his instructions, that were of his persuasion; and show their good will towards him, by being present at the opening of the place; and here he lived in much peace and quiet of mind, contenting himself with that little God had bestowed upon him, and sequestering himself from all secular employments, to follow that of his call to the ministry; for, as God said to Moses, he that made the lips and heart, can give eloquence and wisdom, without extraordinary acquirements in a university.

2 See an authentic copy of this Royal Declaration, and observations upon it, in the Introduction to the Pilgrim's Progress, published by the Hanserd Knollys Society, 1847.—Ed.

During these things, there were regulators sent into all cities and towns corporate, to new-model the government in the magistracy, &c., by turning out some, and putting in others. Against this, Mr. Runyan expressed his zeal with some weariness, as foreseeing the bad consequence that would attend it, and laboured with his congregation to prevent their being imposed on in this kind; and when a great man in those days, coming to Bedford upon some such errand, sent for him, as it is supposed, to give him a place of public trust, he would by no means come at him, but sent his excuse.

When he was at leisure from writing and teaching, he often came up to London, and there went among the congregations of the nonconformists, and used his talent to the great good liking of the hearers; and even some, to whom he had been misrepresented, upon the account of his education, were convinced of his worth and knowledge in sacred things, as perceiving him to be a man of sound judgment, delivering himself plainly and powerfully; insomuch that many who came as mere spectators, for novelty's sake, rather than to be edified and improved, went away well satisfied with what they heard, and wondered, as the Jews did at the apostles, viz., whence this man should have these things; perhaps not considering that God more immediately assists those that make it their business industriously and cheerfully to labour in his vineyard.

Thus he spent his latter years, in imitation of his great Lord and Master, the ever-blessed Jesus; he went about doing good, so that the most prying critic, or even malice herself, is defied to find, even upon the narrowest search or observation, any sully or stain upon his reputation with which he may be justly charged; and this we note as a challenge to those that have had the least regard for him, or them of his persuasion, and have, one way or other, appeared in the front of those that oppressed him, and for the turning whose hearts, in obedience to the commission and commandment given him of God, he frequently prayed, and sometimes sought a blessing for them, even with tears, the effects of which they may, peradventure, though undeservedly, have found in their persons, friends, relations, or estates; for God will hear the prayers of the faithful, and answer them, even for those that vex them, as it happened in the case of Job's praying for the three persons that had been grievous in their reproach against him, even in the day of his sorrow.

But yet let me come a little nearer to particulars and periods of time for the better refreshing the memories of those that knew his labour and suffering, and for the satisfaction of all that shall read this book.

After he was sensibly convicted of the wicked state of his life, and converted, he was baptized into the congregation and admitted a member thereof, viz., in the year 1655, and became speedily a very zealous professor; but, upon the return of King Charles to the crown, in 1660, he was, on the 12th of November, taken, as he was edifying some good people that were got together to hear the Word, and confined in Bedford jail for the space of six years, till the Act of Indulgence to Dissenters being allowed, he obtained his freedom by the intercession of some in trust and power that took pity of his sufferings; but within six years afterwards [from his first imprisonment] he was again taken up, viz., in the year 1666, and was then confined for six years more, when even the jailer took such pity of his rigorous sufferings that he did as the Egyptian jailer did to Joseph, put all the care and trust into his hands. When he was taken this last time, he was preaching on these words, viz., "Dost thou believe on the Son of God?”and this imprisonment continued six years; and when this was over, another short affliction, which was an imprisonment of half a year, fell to his share. During these confinements he wrote these following books, viz.: Of Prayer by the Spirit, The Holy City, Resurrection, Grace Abounding, Pilgrim's Progress, the first part.

[Defence of Justification by Jesus Christ.]

I n the last year of his twelve years' imprisonment, the pastor of the congregation at Bedford died, and he was chosen to that care of souls on the 12th of December 1671. And in this his charge, he often had disputes with scholars, that came to oppose him, as supposing him an ignorant person, and though he argued plainly and by Scripture without phrases and logical expressions; yet he nonplussed one who came to oppose him in his congregation, by demanding whether or no we had the true copies of the original Scriptures; and another, when he was preaching, accused him of uncharitableness, for saying, It was very hard for most to be saved; saying, by that, he went about to exclude most of his congregation; but he confuted him and put him to silence with the parable of the stony ground and other texts out of Mt 13, in our Saviour's sermon out of a ship, all his method being to keep close to the Scriptures; and what he found not warranted there, himself would not warrant nor determine, unless in such cases as were plain, wherein no doubts or scruples did arise.

But not to make any further mention of this kind, it is well known that this person managed all his affairs with such exactness as if he had made it his study, above all other things, not to give occasion of offence, but rather suffer many inconvencies to avoid; being never heard to reproach or revile any, what injury soever he received, but rather to rebuke those that did; and as it was in his conversation, so it is manifested on those books he has caused to be published to the world; where, like the archangel disputing with Satan about the body of Moses, as we find it in the epistle of Jude, he brings no railing accusation, but leaves the rebukers, those that persecuted him, to the Lord.

In his family he kept up a very strict discipline in prayer and exhortations; being in this like Joshua, as that good man expresses it, viz., Whatsoever others did, as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord; and, indeed, a blessing waited on his labours and endeavours, so that his wife, as the Psalmist says, was like a pleasant vine upon the walls of his house, and his children like olive branches round his table; for so shall it be with the man that fears the Lord; and though by reason of the many losses he sustained by imprisonment and spoil, of his chargeable sickness, & c., his earthly treasures swelled not to excess, he always had sufficient to live decently and creditably, and with that he had the greatest of all treasures, which is content; for, as the wise man says, that is a continual feast.

But where content dwells, even a poor cottage is a kingly palace; and this happiness he had all his life long, not so much minding this world as knowing he was here as a pilgrim and stranger, and had no tarrying city, but looking for one not made with hands, eternal in the highest heavens; but at length, worn out with sufferings, age, and often teaching, the day of his dissolution drew near, and death, that unlocks the prison of the soul, to enlarge it for a more glorious mansion, put a stop to his acting his part on the stage of mortality; heaven, like earthly princes when it threatens war, being always so kind as to call home its ambassadors before it be denounced; and even the last act or undertaking of his was a labour of love and charity; for it so falling out, that a young gentleman, a neighbour of Mr. Bunyan, happening into the displeasure of his father, and being much troubled in mind upon that account, as also for that he had heard his father purposed to disinherit him, or otherwise deprive him of what he had to leave, he pitched upon Mr. Bunyan as a fit man to make way for his submission, and prepare his father's mind to receive him; and he, as willing to do any good office as it could be requested, as readily undertook it; and so, riding to Reading, in Berkshire, he then there used such pressing arguments and reasons against anger and passion, as also for love and reconciliation, that the father was mollified, and his bowels yearned towards his returning son.

But Mr. Runyan, after he had disposed all things to the best for accommodation, returning to London, and being overtaken with excessive rains, coming to his lodging extreme wet, fell sick of a violent fever, which he bore with much constancy and patience; and expressed himself as if he desired nothing more than to be dissolved, and to be with Christ, in that case esteeming death as gain, and life only a tedious delaying of felicity expected; and finding his vital strength decay, having settled his mind and affairs, as well as the shortness of his time and the violence of his disease would admit, with a constant and Christian patience, he resigned his soul into the hands of his most merciful Redeemer, following his pilgrim from the City of Destruction to the New Jerusalem; his better part having been all along there, in holy contemplation, pantings, and breathings after the hidden manna, and water of life; as by many holy and humble consolations expressed in his letters to several persons, in prison and out of prison, too many to be here inserted at present.3 He died at the house of one Mr. Straddocks, a grocer, at the Star on Snowhill, in the parish of St. Sepulchre, London, on the 12th of August 1688, and in the sixtieth year of his age, after ten days' sickness; and was buried in the new burying place near the Artillery Ground; where he sleeps to the morning of the resurrection, in hopes of a glorious rising to an incorruptible immortality of joy and happiness; where no more trouble and sorrow shall afflict him, but all tears be wiped away; when the just shall be incorrupted, as members of Christ their head, and reign with him as kings and priests for ever.4  

3 All these letters, and nearly all his autographs, have disappeared. Of his numerous manuscripts, books, and letters, not a line is now known to exist. If discovered, they would be invaluable.—Ed.

4 Strongly does the departure of Bunyan, on his ascent to the celestial city, remind us of Re 14:13, 'And I heard a voice from heaven, saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord, from henceforth. Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them.' What an exchange! From incessant anxious labour; from sighing and sorrow; from corruption and temptation; to commence an endless life of holiness and purity, rest and peace. To be with and like his Lord! His works have followed, and will follow him, till time shall be no more.—Ed.



He appeared in countenance to be of a stern and rough temper; but in his conversation mild and affable, not given to loquacity or much discourse in company, unless some urgent occasion required it; observing never to boast of himself, or his parts, but rather seem low in his own eyes, and submit himself to the judgment of others; abhorring lying and swearing, being just in all that lay in his power to his word, not seeming to revenge injuries, loving to reconcile differences, and make friendship with all; he had a sharp quick eye, accomplished with an excellent discerning of persons, being of good judgment and quick wit. As for his person, he was tall of stature, strong-boned, though not corpulent, somewhat of a ruddy face, with sparkling eyes, wearing his hair on his upper lip, after the old British fashion; his hair reddish, but in his latter days, time had sprinkled it with grey; his nose well-set, but not declining or bending, and his mouth moderate large; his forehead something high, and his habit always plain and modest. And thus have we impartially described the internal and external parts of a person, whose death hath been much regretted; a person who had tried the smiles and frowns of time; not puffed up in prosperity, nor shaken in adversity, always holding the golden mean.

In him at once did three great worthies shine,
Historian, poet, and a choice divine;
Then let him rest in undisturbed dust,
Until the resurrection of the just.


In this his pilgrimage, God blessed him with four children, one of which, names Mary, was blind, and died some years before; his other children are Thomas, Joseph, and Sarah; and his wife Elizabeth, having lived to see him overcome his labour and sorrow, and pass from this life to receive the reward of his works, long survived him not, but in 1692 she died; to follow her faithful pilgrim from this world to the other, whither he was gone before her; while his works, which consist of sixty books, remain for the edifying of the reader, and the praise of the author. Vale.




Sin is the great block and bar to our happiness, the procurer of all miseries to man, both here and hereafter: take away sin and nothing can hurt us: for death, temporal, spiritual, and eternal, is the wages of it.

Sin, and man for sin, is the object of the wrath of God. How dreadful, therefore, must his case be who continues in sin! For who can bear or grapple with the wrath of God?

No sin against God can be little, because it is against the great God of heaven and earth; but if the sinner can find out a little God, it may be easy to find out little sins.

Sin turns all God's grace into wantonness; it is the dare of his justice, the rape of his mercy, the jeer of his patience, the slight of his power, and the contempt of his love.1

1. Among these truly remarkable sayings, so characteristic of our great author, this of the fearful nature of sin is peculiarly striking; it is worthy of being imprinted on every Christian's heart, to keep alive a daily sense of the exceeding sinfulness of sin.—Ed.

Take heed of giving thyself liberty of committing one sin, for that will lead thee to another; till, by an ill custom, it become natural.

To begin a sin, is to lay a foundation for a continuance; this continuance is the mother of custom, and impudence at last the issue.

The death of Christ giveth us the best discovery of ourselves, in what condition we were, in that nothing could help us but that; and the most clear discovery of the dreadful nature of our sins. For if sin be so dreadful a thing as to wring the heart of the Son of God, how shall a poor wretched sinner be able to bear it?


Nothing can render affliction so insupportable as the load of sin: would you, therefore, be fitted for afflictions, be sure to get the burden of your sins laid aside, and then what afflictions soever you may meet with will be very easy to you.

If thou canst hear and bear the rod of affliction which God shall lay upon thee, remember this lesson—thou art beaten that thou mayest be better.

The Lord useth his flail of tribulation to separate the chaff from the wheat.

The school of the cross is the school of light; it discovers the world's vanity, baseness, and wickedness, and lets us see more of God's mind. Out of dark affliction comes a spiritual light.

In times of affliction we commonly meet with the sweetest experiences of the love of God.

Did we heartily renounce the pleasures of this world, we should be very little troubled for our afflictions; that which renders an afflicted state so insupportable to many is because they are too much addicted to the pleasures of this life, and so cannot endure that which makes a separation between them.


The end of affliction is the discovery of sin, and of that to bring us to a Saviour. Let us therefore, with the prodigal, return unto him, and we shall find ease and rest.

A repenting penitent, though formerly as bad as the worst of men, may, by grace, become as good as the best.

To be truly sensible of sin is to sorrow for displeasing of God; to be afflicted that he is displeased by us more than that he is displeased with us.

Your intentions to repentance, and the neglect of that soul-saving duty, will rise up in judgment against you.

Repentance carries with it a Divine rhetoric, and persuades Christ to forgive multitudes of sins committed against him.

Say not with thyself, To-morrow I will repent; for it is thy duty to do it daily.

The gospel of grace and salvation is above all doctrines the most dangerous, if it be received in word only by graceless men; if it be not attended with a sensible need of a Saviour, and bring them to him. For such men as have only the notion of it, are of all men most miserable; for by reason of their knowing more than heathens, this shall only be their final portion, that they shall have greater stripes.


Before you enter into prayer, ask thy soul these questions-1. To what end, 0 my soul, art thou retired into this place? Art thou not come to discourse the Lord in prayer? Is he present; will he hear thee? Is he merciful; will he help thee? Is thy business slight; is it not concerning the welfare of thy soul? What words wilt thou use to move him to compassion?

To make thy preparation complete, consider that thou art but dust and ashes, and he the great God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, that clothes himself with light as with a garment; that thou art a vile sinner, he a holy God; that thou art but a poor crawling worm, he the omnipotent Creator.

In all your prayers forget not to thank the Lord for his mercies.

When thou prayest, rather let thy hearts be without words, than thy words without a heart.

Prayer will make a man cease from sin, or sin will entice a man to cease from prayer.

The spirit of prayer is more precious than treasures of gold and silver.

Pray often, for prayer is a shield to the soul, a sacrifice to God, and a scourge for Satan.


Have a special care to sanctify the Lord's day; for as thou keepest it, so it will be with thee all the week long.

Make the Lord's day the market for thy soul; let the whole day be spent in prayer, repetitions, or meditations; lay aside the affairs of the other part of the week; let thy sermon thou hast heard be converted into prayer: Shall God allow thee six days, and wilt not thou afford him one?

In the church, be careful to serve God; for thou art in his eyes, and not in man's.

Thou mayest hear sermons often, and do well in practicing what thou hearest; but thou must not expect to be told thee in a pulpit all that thou oughtest to do, but be studious in searching the Scriptures, and reading good books; what thou hearest may be forgotten, but what thou readest may better be retained.

Forsake not the public worship of God, lest God forsake thee, not only in public, but in private.

In the week days, when thou risest in the morning, consider, 1. Thou must die. 2. Thou mayest die that minute. 3. What will become of thy soul. Pray often. At night consider, 1. What sins thou hast committed. 2. How often thou hast prayed. 3. What hath thy mind been bent upon. 4. What hath been thy dealing. 5. What thy conversation. 6. If thou callest to mind the errors of the day, sleep not without a confession to God, and a hope of pardon. Thus every morning and evening make up thy accounts with Almighty God, and thy reckoning will be the less at last.


Nothing more hinders a soul from coming to Christ, than a vain love of the world; and till a soul is freed from it, it can never have a true love for God.

What are the honours and riches of this world, when compared to the glories of a crown of life?

Love not the world; for it [the love of the world] is a moth in a Christian's life.

To despise the world is the way to enjoy heaven; and blessed are they who delight to converse with God by prayer.

What folly can be greater than to labour for the meat that perisheth, and neglect the food of eternal life?

God or the world must be neglected at parting time, for then is the time of trial.

To seek yourself in this world is to be lost; and to be humble is to be exalted.

The epicure that delighteth in the dainties of this world, little thinketh that those very creatures will one day witness against him.


It is not every suffering that makes a martyr, but suffering for the Word of God after a right manner; that is, not only for righteousness, but for righteousness' sake; not only for truth, but out of love to truth; not only for God's Word, but according to it: to wit, in that holy, humble, meek manner, as the Word of God requireth.

It is a rare thing to suffer aright, and to have my spirit in suffering bent only against God's enemy, sin; sin in doctrine, sin in worship, sin in life, and sin in conversation.

The devil, nor men of the world, can kill thy righteousness, or love to it but by thy own hand; or separate that and thee asunder without thy own act. Nor will he that Both indeed suffer for the sake of it, or out of love he bears thereto, be tempted to exchange it, for the good will of all the world.

I have often thought that the best of Christians are found in the worst of times. And I have thought again that one reason why we are no better, is because God purges us no more. Noah and Lot, who so holy as they in the time of their afflictions? And yet who so idle as they in the time of their prosperity?


As the devil labours by all means to keep out other things that are good, so to keep out of the heart as much as in him lies, the thoughts of passing from this life into another world; for he knows if he can but keep them from the serious thoughts of death, he shall the more easily keep them in their sins.

Nothing will make us more earnest in working out the work of our salvation, than a frequent meditation of mortality; nothing hath greater influence for the taking off our hearts from vanities, and for the begetting in us desires after holiness.

O sinner, what a condition wilt thou fall into when thou departest this world; if thou depart unconverted, thou hadst better have been smothered the first hour thou wast born; thou hadst better have been plucked one limb from another; thou hadst better have been made a dog, a toad, a serpent, than to die unconverted, and this thou wilt find true if thou repent not.

A man would be counted a fool to slight a judge, before whom he is to have a trial of his whole estate.2 The trial we have before God is of otherguise importance,3 it concerns our eternal happiness or misery; and yet dare we affront him?

2 Judges in those days were often biased by personal feelings, and in some cases even by bribes.—Ed.

3 Otherguise importance'; another manner of importance.—Ed.

The only way for us to escape that terrible judgment, is to be often passing a sentence of condemnation upon ourselves here. When the sound of the trumpet shall be heard, which shall summon the dead to appear before the tribunal of God, the righteous shall hasten out of their graves with joy to meet their Redeemer in the clouds; others shall call to the hills and mountains to fall upon them, to cover them from the sight of their Judge; let us therefore in time be posing4 ourselves which of the two we shall be.

4 'Posing,' questioning closely, putting to a stand.—Imperial Dictionary.—Ed.


There is no good in this life but what is mingled with some evil; honours perplex, riches disquiet, and pleasures ruin health. But in heaven we shall find blessings in their purity, without any ingredient to embitter, with everything to sweeten them.

0! who is able to conceive the inexpressible, inconceivable joys that are there? None but they who have tasted of them. Lord, help us to put such a value upon them here, that in order to prepare ourselves for them, we may be willing to forego the loss of all those deluding pleasures here.

How will the heavens echo of joy, when the Bride, the Lamb's wife, shall come to dwell with her husband for ever?

Christ is the desire of nations, the joy of angels, the delight of the Father; what solace then must that soul be filled with, that hath the possession of him to all eternity?

0! what acclamations of joy will there be, when all the children of God shall meet together, without fear of being disturbed by the antichristian and Cainish brood!

Is there not a time coming when the godly may ask the wicked what profit they have in their pleasure? what comfort in their greatness? and what fruits in all their labour?

If you would be better satisfied what the beatifical vision means, my request is that you would live holily, and go and see.


Heaven and salvation is not surely more promised to the godly than hell and damnation is threatened to, and shall be executed on, the wicked.

When once a man is damned, he may bid adieu to all pleasures.

Oh! who knows the power of God's wrath? none but damned ones.

Sinners' company are the devil and his angels, tormented in everlasting fire with a curse.

Hell would be a kind of paradise if it were not worse than the worst of this world.

As different as grief is from joy, as torment from rest, as terror from peace; so different is the state of sinners from that of saints in the world to come.

[Licensed, September 10, 1688.]

001.7 Prison Meditations



By John Bunyan, in Prison, 1665


These verses, like those called "A Caution to watch against Sin,”were first printed on a half sheet, and passed through several editions. The Editor possesses a copy published by the author, a short time before his decease; it is in an exceedingly rare little volume, including his poems of "One thing needful”and his "Ebal and Gerizzim"; with "a catlogue of all his other books.”London: printed for Nath, Ponder, at the Peacock in the Poultry, 1688. On the reverse of the title is a singular advertisement; "This author having published many books, which have gone off very well, there are certain ballad sellers about Newgate, and on London Bridge, who have put the two first letters of this author's name, and his effigies, to their rhymes and ridiculous books, suggesting to the world as if they were his. Now know that this author publisheth his name at large to all his books, and what you shall see otherwise he disowns."

Bunyan was imprisoned for teaching the gospel in its purity to the poor, and for refusing conformity to national creeds and ceremonies. This was as absurd as it would be, to imprison such of the inhabitants of a country who refused to swear that all mankind were of one standard in height; sending those who had consciences to prison, until they pretended that they had grown taller or shorter, and were willing to take the oath. Mental decision must be formed on evidence. God can enlighten the mind to see that he alone can guide us to spiritual worship—that his will must be personally consulted, and unreservedly obeyed. Such a man feels that his soul's salvation depends upon obedience to God, and not to man. If human laws send him to jail for refusing to disobey God, he will write upon the prison wall as William Prynne did upon that in the Tower, "The Lord heareth the poor, and despiseth not HIS prisoners."

`Christ's presence hath my prison turn'd into
A blessed heaven; what then will it do
In heaven hereafter, when it now creates
Heav'n in a dungeon; goals to courts translates?'
`He is not bound whom Christ makes free; he,
Though shut close prisoner, chained, remains still free:
A godly man's at large in every place,
Still cheerful, well content, in blessed case,
Unconquered; he a sacred heaven still bears
About within his breast.'...

These were the feelings of all Christ's prisoners. Indomitable was the heroic spirit of Bunyan. He tells his persecutors their folly and their sin, even while suffering under their lash; and after more than twelve years' incarceration, his free spirit is unsubdued. Again for sixteen years he enjoyed the sweets of liberty, and then re-published at all risks his proofs of the wickedness of persecution for conscience' sake. There was no craft, nor guile, nor hypocrisy about his character, but a fearless devotion to the will of his God; and he became one of the most honoured of his saints.



1. Friend, I salute thee in the Lord,
And wish thou may'st abound
In faith, and have a good regard
To keep on holy ground.

2. Thou Bost encourage me to hold
My head above the flood,
Thy counsel better is than gold,
In need thereof I stood.

3. Good counsel's good at any time,
The wise will it receive,
Though fools count he commits a crime
Who Both good counsel give.

4. I take it kindly at thy hand
Thou didst unto me write,
My feet upon Mount Zion stand,
In that take thou delight .

5. I am, indeed, in prison now
In body, but my mind
Is free to study Christ, and how
Unto me he is kind.

6. For though men keep my outward man
Within their locks and bars,
Yet by the faith of Christ I can
Mount higher than the stars.

7. Their fetters cannot spirits tame,
Nor tie up God from me;
My faith and hope they cannot lame,
Above them I shall be.

8. I here am very much refreshed
To think when I was out,
I preached life, and peace, and rest
To sinners round about.

9. My business then was souls to save,
By preaching grace and faith;
Of which the comfort now I have,
And have it shall till death.

10. They were no fables that I taught,
Devised by cunning men,
But God's own Word, by which were caught
Some sinners now and then.

11. Whose souls by it were made to see
The evil of their sin;
And need of Christ to make them free
From death which they were in.

12. And now those very hearts that then
Were foes unto the Lord,
Embrace his Christ and truth, like men
Conquered by his word.

13. I hear them sigh and groan, and cry
For grace, to God above;
They loathe their sin, and to it die,
'Tis holiness they love.

14. This was the work I was about
When hands on me they laid,
`Twas this from which they pluck'd me out,
And vilely to me said,

15. You heretic, deceiver, come,
To prison you must go;
You preach abroad, and keep not home,
You are the church's foe.

16. But having peace within my soul,
And truth on every side,
I could with comfort them control,
And at their charge deride.

17. Wherefore to prison they me sent,
Where to this day I lie,
And can with very much content
For my profession die.

18. The prison very sweet to me
Hath been since I came here,
And so would also hanging be,
If God would there appear.

19. Here dwells good conscience, also peace
Here be my garments white;
Here, though in bonds, I have release
From guilt, which else would bite.

20. When they do talk of banishment,
Of death, or such-like things;
Then to me God sends heart's content,
That like a fountain springs.

21. Alas! they little think what peace
They help me to, for by
Their rage my comforts do increase;
Bless God therefore do I.

22. If they do give me gall to drink,
Then God doth sweetn'ning cast
So much thereto, that they can't think
How bravely it doth taste.

23. For, as the devil sets before
Me heaviness and grief,
o God sets Christ and grace much more,
Whereby I take relief.

24. Though they say then that we are fools
Because we here do lie,
I answer, goals are Christ his schools,
In them we learn to die.

25. `Tis not the baseness of this state
Doth hide us from God's face,
He frequently, both soon and late,
Doth visit us with grace.

26. Here come the angels, here come saints,
Here comes the Spirit of God,
To comfort us in our restraints
Under the wicked's rod.

27. God sometimes visits prisons more
Than lordly palaces,
He often knocketh at our door,
When he their houses miss.

28. The truth and life of heavenly things
Lift up our hearts on high,
And carry us on eagles' wings,
Beyond carnality.

29. It take away those clogs that hold
The hearts of other men,
And makes us lively, strong and bold
Thus to oppose their sin.

30. By which means God doth frustrate
That which our foes expect;
Namely, our turning th' Apostate,
Like those of Judas' sect.

31. Here comes to our rememberance
The troubles good men had
Of old, and for our furtherance,
Their joys when they were sad.

32. To them that here for evil lie
The place is comfortless,
But not to me, because that I
Lie here for righteousness.

33. The truth and I were both here cast
Together, and we do
Lie arm in arm, and so hold fast
Each other; this is true.

34. This goal to us is as a hill,
From whence we plainly see
Beyond this world, and take our fill
Of things that lasting be.

35. From hence we see the emptiness
Of all this world contains;
And here we feel the blessedness
That for us yet remains.

36. Here we can see how all men play
Their parts, as on a stage,
How good men suffer for God's way,
And bad men at them rage.

37. Here we can see who holds that ground
Which they in Scripture find;
Here we see also who turns round
Like weathercocks with wind.

38. We can also from hence behold
How seeming friends appear
But hypocrites, as we are told
In Scripture every where.

39. When we did walk at liberty,
We were deceiv'd by them,
Who we from hence do clearly see
Are vile deceitful men.

40. These politicians that profest
For base and worldly ends,
Do now appear to us at best
But Machiavellian friends.

41. Though men do say, we do disgrace
Ourselves by lying here
Among the rogues, yet Christ our face
From all such filth will clear.

42. We know there's neither flout nor frown
That we now for him bear,
But will add to our heavenly crown,
When he comes in the air.

43. When he our righteousness forth brings
Bright shining as the day,
And wipeth off those sland'rous things
That scorners on us lay.

44. We sell our earthly happiness
For heavenly house and home;
We leave this world because `tis less,
And worse than that to come.

45. We change our drossy dust for gold,
From death to life we fly:
We let go shadows, and take hold
Of immortality.

46. We trade for that which lasting is,
And nothing for it give,
But that which is already his
By whom we breath and live.

47. That liberty we lose for him,
Sickness might take away:
Our goods might also for our sin
By fire or thieves decay.

48. Again, we see what glory `tis
Freely to bear our cross
For him, who for us took up his,
When he our servant was.

49. I am most free that men should see
A hole cut thro' mine ear;
If others will ascertain me,
They'll hang a jewel there.

50. Just thus it is we suffer here
For him a little pain,
Who, when he doth again appear,
Will with him let us reign.

51. If all must either die for sin
A death that's natural;
Or else for Christ, `tis beset with him
Who for the last doth fall.

52. Who now dare say we throw away
Our goods or liberty,
When God's most holy Word doth say
We gain thus much thereby?

53. Hark yet again, you carnal men,
And hear what I shall say
In your own dialect, and then
I'll you no longer stay.

54. You talk sometimes of valour much,
And count such bravely mann'd,
That will not stick to have a touch
With any in the land.

55. If these be worth commending then,
That vainly show their might,
How dare you blame those holy men
That in God's quarrel fight?

56. Though you dare crack a coward's crown,
Or quarrel for a pin,
You dare not on the wicked frown,
Nor speak against their sin.

57. For all your spirits are so stout,
For matters that are vain;
Yet sin besets you round about,
You are in Satan's chain.

58. You dare not for the truth engage,
You quake at prisonment;
You dare not make the tree your stage
For Christ, that King, potent.

59. Know then, true valour there doth dwell
Where men engage for God,
Against the devil, death, and hell,
And bear the wicked's rod.

60. These be the men that God doth count
Of high and noble mind;
These be the men that do surmount
What you in nature find.

61. First they do conquer their own hearts,
All worldly fears, and then
Also the devil's fiery darts,
And persecuting men.

62. They conquer when they thus do fall,
They kill when they do die:
They overcome then most of all,
And get the victory.

63. The worldling understands not this,
`Tis clear out of his sight;
Therefore he counts this world his bliss,
And doth our glory slight.

64. The lubber knows not how to spring
The nimble footman's stage;
Neither can owls or jackdaws sing
If they were in the cage.

65. The swine doth not the pearls regard,
But them doth slight for grains,
Though the wise merchant labours hard
For them with greatest pains.

66. Consider man what I have said,
And judge of things aright;
When all men's cards are fully played,
Whose will abide the light?

67. Will those, who have us hither cast?
Or they who do us scorn?
Or those who do our houses waste?
Or us, who this have borne?

68. And let us count those things the best
That best will prove at last;
And count such men the only blest,
That do such things hold fast.

69. And what though they us dear do cost,
Yet let us buy them so;
We shall not count our labour lost
When we see others' woe.

70. And let saints be no longer blam'd
By carnal policy;
But let the wicked be asham'd
Of their malignity.









London: Printed for Elizabeth Smith, at the Hand and Bible, on London Bridge, 1691


That Bunyan, who considered himself one of the most notorious of Jerusalem sinners, should write with the deepest earnestness upon this subject, is not surprising. He had preached upon it with very peculiar pleasure, and, doubtless, from many texts; and, as he says, `through God's grace, with great success.' It is not probable that, with his characteristic intensity of feeling, and holy fervour in preaching, he ever delivered the same sermon twice; but this was a subject so in unison with his own feelings and experience, that he must have dilated upon it with even unusual interest and earnestness. The marrow of all these exercises he concentrated in this treatise; and when his judgment was, by severe internal conflicts, fully matured—upon the eve of the close of his earthly pilgrimage, in the last year of his life, 1688—he published it in a pocket volume of eight sheets. It was soon translated into several languages, and became so popular as to pass through ten editions in English by 1728. Like other favourite books, it was ornamented with some very inferior wood-cuts.

The object of the author is fully explained in the title to his book. It is to display the riches of Divine grace and mercy to the greatest sinners—even to those whose conduct entitled them to be called 'Satan's colonels, and captains, the leaders of his people; and to such as most stoutly make head against the Son of God.' It is to those who feel themselves to be such, and who make a proper estimate of their own characters, as in the sight of God, that the gracious proclamations of the gospel are peculiarly directed. They to whom much is forgiven, love much; and the same native energies which had been misdirected to promote evil, when sanctified and divinely guided, become a great blessing to the church, and to society at large.

Bunyan does not stoop to any attempt to reconcile the humbling doctrines of grace to the self-righteous pride of those who, considering themselves but little sinners, would feel contaminated by the company of those who had been such great sinners, although they were pardoned and sanctified by God. His great effort was directed to relieve the distress and despair of those who were suffering under deep convictions; still, his whole treatise shows that the doctrine of salvation by grace, of free gift, is no encouragement to sin that grace may abound, as some have blasphemously asserted. It is degrading to the pride of those who have not drunk so deeply of sin, to be placed upon a level with great sinners. But the disease is the same—in breaking one commandment, the whole law is violated; and, however in some the moral leprosy does not make such fearful ravages as in others, the slightest taint conveys moral, spiritual, and eternal death. ALL, whether young or old, great or small, must be saved by grace, or fall into perdition. The difference between the taint of sin, and its awfully developed leprosy, is given. Who so ready to fly to the physician as those who feel their case to be desperate? and, when cured, they must love the Saviour most.

Comparatively little sins before conviction, when seen in the glass of God's law, and in his holy presence, become great ones. Those who feel themselves to be great sinners, are peculiarly invited to the arms of the Saviour, who saves to the uttermost ALL that come unto him; and it is thus that peculiar consolation is poured in, and the broken heart is bound up. We are then called by name, as Bunyan forcibly describes it, as men called by name before a court. 'Who first cry out, "Here, Sir"; and then shoulder and crowd, and say, "Pray give way, I am called into the court.”This is thy case, wherefore say, "Stand away, devil, Christ calls me; stand away, unbelief, Christ calls me; stand away, all ye my discouraging apprehensions, for my Saviour calls me to him to receive of his mercy.""Wherefore, since Christ says come, let the angels make a lane, and let all men give place, that the Jerusalem sinner may come to Jesus Christ for mercy.' How characteristic is this of the peculiarly striking style of Bunyan! How solemn his warnings! 'The invitations of the gospel will be, to those who refuse them, the hottest coals in hell.' His reasonings against despair are equally forcible: "Tis a sin to begin to despair before one sets his foot over the threshold of hell gate. What! despair of bread in a land that is full of corn! despair of mercy, when our God is full of mercy! when he goes about by his ministers, beseeching of sinners to be reconciled unto him! Thou scrupulous fool, where canst thou find that God was ever false to his promise, or that he ever deceived the soul that ventured itself upon him?' This whole treatise abounds with strong consolation to those who are beset with fears, and who, because of these, are ready to give way to despair; it ought to be put into the hands of all such, let them belong to what party they may; for, like our author's other books, nothing of a sectarian nature can be traced in it, except we so call the distinguishing truths of evangelical religion. There are some very interesting references to Bunyan's experience and life, and one rather singular idea, in which I heartily concur; it is, that the glorified saints will become part of the heavenly hierarchy of angels, and take the places of those who fell from that exalted state (Re 22:8-9).

To those whose souls are invaded by despair, or who fear that they have committed the sin against the Holy Ghost—to all who pant to have their faith strengthened, and hopes brightened, this little work is most earnestly and affectionately commended.




One reason which moved me to write and print this little book was, because, though there are many excellent heart-affecting discourses in the world that tend to convert the sinner, yet I had a desire to try this simple method of mine; wherefore I make bold thus to invite and encourage the worst to come to Christ for life.

I have been vile myself, but have obtained mercy; and I would have my companions in sin partake of mercy too: and, therefore, I have writ this little book.

The nation doth swarm with vile ones now, as ever it did since it was a nation. My little book, in some places, can scarce go from house to house, but it will find a suitable subject to spend itself upon. Now, since Christ Jesus is willing to save the vilest, why should they not, by name, be somewhat acquainted with it, and bid come to him under that name?

A great sinner, when converted, seems a booty to Jesus Christ; he gets by saving such an one; why then should both Jesus lose his glory and the sinner lose his soul at once, and that for want of an invitation?

I have found, through God's grace, good success in preaching upon this subject, and perhaps, so I may by my writing upon it too.1 I have, as you see, let down this net for a draught. The Lord catch some great fishes by it, for the magnifying of his truth. There are some most vile in all men's eyes, and some are so in their own eyes too; but some have their paintings, to shroud their vileness under; yet they are naked and open unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do; and for all these, God hath sent a Saviour, Jesus; and to all these the door is opened.

1 Having preached many times, and from various texts, upon this subject, the whole substance of many sermons is here published.—Ed.

Wherefore, prithee, profane man, give this little book the reading. Come; pardon, and a part in heaven and glory, cannot be hurtful to thee. Let not thy lusts and folly drive thee beyond the door of mercy, since it is not locked nor bolted up against thee. Manasseh was a bad man, and Magdalene a bad woman, to say nothing of the thief upon the cross, or of the murderers of Christ; yet they obtained mercy; Christ willingly received them.

And dost thou think that those, once so bad, now they are in heaven, repent them there because they left their sins for Christ when they were in the world? I cannot believe, but that thou thinkest they have verily got the best on't. Why, sinner, do thou likewise. Christ, at heaven gates, says to thee, Come hither; and the devil, at the gates of hell, does call thee to come to him. Sinner, what sagest thou? Whither wilt thou go? Don't go into the fire; there thou wilt be burned! Don't let Jesus lose his longing, since it is for thy salvation, but come to him and live.

One word more, and so I have done. Sinner, here thou dost hear of love; prithee, do not provoke it, by turning it into wantonness. He that dies for slighting love, sinks deepest into hell, and will there be tormented by the remembrance of that evil, more than by the deepest cogitation of all his other sins. Take heed, therefore; do not make love thy tormentor, sinner. Farewell.

001.9 Good News For The Vilest Of Men





The whole verse runs thus: 'And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, `beginning at Jerusalem.'

The words were spoken by Christ, after he rose from the dead, and they are here rehearsed after an historical manner, but do contain in them a formal commission, with a special clause therein. The commission is, as you see, for the preaching of the gospel, and is very distinctly inserted in the holy record by Matthew and Mark. 'Go - teach all nations,' &c. (Mt 28:19) 'Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature' (Mr 16:15). Only this clause is in special mentioned by Luke, who saith, that as Christ would have the doctrine of repentance and remission of sins preached in his name among all nations, so he would have the people of Jerusalem to have the first proffer thereof. Preach it, saith Christ, in all nations, but begin at Jerusalem.

The apostles, then, though they had a commission so large as to give them warrant to go and preach the gospel in all the world, yet by this clause they were limited as to the beginning of their ministry; they were to begin this work at Jerusalem. "Beginning at Jerusalem.'

Before I proceed to an observation upon the words, I must, but briefly, touch upon two things: namely, FIRST, Show you what Jerusalem now was. SECOND, Show you what it was to preach the gospel to them.

FIRST, Jerusalem is to be considered either, First, With respect to the descent of her people; or, Second, With respect to her preference and exaltation; or, Third, With respect to her present state, as to her decays.

First, As to her descent, she was from Abraham, [by] the sons of Jacob, a people that God singled out from the rest of the nations, to set his love upon them.

Secondly, As to her preference or exaltation, she was the place of God's worship, and that which had in and with her the special tokens and signs of God's favour and presence, above any other people in the world. Hence, the tribes went up to Jerusalem to worship; there was God's house, God's high-priest, God's sacrifices accepted, and God's eye, and God's heart perpetually (Ps 76:1-2,12; 1Ki 9:3). But,

Thirdly, We are to consider Jerusalem also in her decays; for, as she is so considered, she is the proper object of our text, as will be further showed by and by.

Jerusalem, as I told you, was the place and seat of God's worship, but now decayed, degenerated, and apostatized.2 The Word, the rule of worship, was rejected of them, and in its place they had put and set up their own traditions: they had rejected, also, the most weighty ordinances, and put in the room thereof their own little things (Mt 15; Mr 7). Jerusalem was therefore now greatly backslidden, and become the place where the truth and true religion were much defaced.

2 The Jews, and their sacred city, are standing monuments of God's dreadful vengeance against unbelief in rejecting the Lord Christ, in whom alone is salvation. The Lord give us grace to prize and improve gospel privileges, lest we also be cut off, through unbelief.—Mason.

It was also now become the very sink of sin and seat of hypocrisy, and gulf where true religion was drowned. Here also now reigned presumption, and groundless confidence in God, which is the bane of souls. Amongst its rulers, doctors, and leaders, envy, malice, and blasphemy vented itself against the power of godliness, in all places where it was espied; as also against the promoters of it; yea, their Lord and Maker could not escape them.

In a word, Jerusalem was now become the shambles, the very slaughter- shop for saints. This was the place wherein the prophets, Christ, and his people, were most horribly persecuted and murdered. Yea, so hardened at this time was this Jerusalem in her sins, that she feared not to commit the biggest, and to bind herself, by wish, under the guilt and damning evil of it; saying, when she had murdered the Son of God, 'His blood be on us, and on our children.' And though Jesus Christ did, both by doctrine, miracles, and holiness of life, seek to put a stop to their villanies, yet they shut their eyes, stopped their ears, and rested not, till, as was hinted before, they had driven him out of the world. Yea, that they might, if possible, have extinguished his name, and exploded his doctrine out of the world, they, against all argument, and in despite of heaven, its mighty hand, and undeniable proof of his resurrection, did hire soldiers to invent a lie, saying, his disciples stole him away from the grave; on purpose that men might not count him the Saviour of the world, nor trust in him for the remission of sins.

They were, saith Paul, contrary to all men: for they did not only shut up the door of life against themselves, but forbade that it should be opened to any else. 'Forbidding us,' saith he, `to speak to the Gentiles, that they might be saved, to fill up their sins alway' (1Th 2:206; Mt 23:35; 15:7-9; Mr 7:6-8; Mt 3:17; Joh 8:33,41; Mt 27:18; Mr 3:30; Mt 23:37; Lu 13:33-34; Mt 27:25; 20:11-16).

This is the city, and these are the people; this is their character, and these are their sins: nor can there be produced their parallel in all this world. Nay, what world, what people, what nation, for sin and transgression, could or can be compared to Jerusalem? especially if you join to the matter of fact the light they sinned against, and the patience which they abused. Infinite was the wickedness upon this account which they committed.

After all their abusings of wise men, and prophets, God sent unto them John Baptist, to reduce them, and then his Son, to redeem them; but they would be neither reduced nor redeemed, but persecuted both to the death. Nor did they, as I said, stop here; the holy apostles they afterwards persecuted also to death, even so many as they could; the rest they drove from them unto the utmost corners.

SECOND, I come not to show you what it was to preach the gospel to them. It was, saith Luke, to preach to them 'repentance and remission of sins' in Christ's name; or, as Mark has it, to bid them 'repent and believe the gospel' (Mr 1:15). Not that repentance is a cause of remission, but a sign of our hearty reception thereof. Repentance is therefore here put to intimate, that no pretended faith of the gospel is good that is not accompanied with it; and this he Both on purpose, because he would not have them deceive themselves: for with what faith can he expect remission of sins in the name of Christ, that is not heartily sorry for them? Or how shall a man be able to give to others a satisfactory account of his unfeigned subjection to the gospel, that yet abides in his impenitency?

Wherefore repentance is here joined with faith, in the way of receiving the gospel. Faith is that without which it cannot be received at all; and repentance that without which it cannot be received unfeignedly. When, therefore, Christ says, he would have a repentance and remission of sins preached in his name among all nations, it is as much as to say, I will that all men everywhere be sorry for their sins, and accept of mercy at God's hand through me, lest they fall under his wrath in the judgment; for, as I have said, without repentance, what pretence soever men have of faith, they cannot escape the wrath to come. Wherefore Paul said, God commands `all men everywhere to repent,' (in order to their salvation): 'because he hath appointed a day, in the which he shall judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained' (Ac 17:31).

And now, to come to this clause, 'Beginning at Jerusalem'; that is, that Christ would have Jerusalem have the first offer of the gospel. 1. This cannot be so commanded because they had now any more right, of themselves, thereto, than had any of the nations of the world; for their sins had divested them of all self-deservings. 2. Nor yet because they stood upon the advance-ground with the worst of the sinners of the nations; nay, rather, the sinners of the nations had the advance-ground of them: for Jerusalem was, long before she had added this iniquity to her sin, worse than the very nations that God cast out before the children of Israel (2Ch 33). 3. It must, therefore, follow, that this cause, 'Beginning at Jerusalem,' was put into this commission of mere grace and compassion, even from the overflowings of the bowels of mercy; for indeed they were the worst, and so in the most deplorable condition of any people under the heavens.3

3 The higher a people rise under the means, the lower will be their fall if they slight them. 0 highly-favoured England! Tyre and Sidon, Sodom and Gomorrah, will have a milder hell than thy carnal, hypocritical, Christless children.—Mason.

Whatever, therefore, their relation was to Abraham, Isaac, or Jacob—however they formerly had been the people among whom God had placed his name and worship, they were now degenerated from God, more than the nations were from their idols, and were become guilty of the highest sins which the people of the world were capable of committing. Nay, none can be capable of committing of such pardonable sins as they committed against their God, when they slew his Son, and persecuted his name and Word.


From these words, therefore, thus explained, we gain this observation:— That Jesus Christ. would have mercy offered, in the first place, to the biggest sinners

That these Jerusalem sinners were the biggest sinners that ever were in the world, I think none will deny, that believes that Christ was the best man that ever was in the world, and also was their Lord God. And that they were to have the first offer of his grace, the text is as clear as the sun; for it saith, 'Beginning at Jerusalem.' `Preach,' saith he, 'repentance and remission of sins' to the Jerusalem sinners: to the Jerusalem sinners in the first place. One would a-thought, since the Jerusalem sinners were the worst and greatest sinners, Christ's greatest enemies, and those that not only despised his person, doctrine, and miracles, but that, a little before, had had their hands up to the elbows in his heart's blood, that he should rather have said, Go into all the world, and preach repentance and remission of sins among all nations; and, after that, offer the same to Jerusalem; yea, it had been infinite grace if he had said so. But what grace is this, or what name shall we give it, when he commands that this repentance and remission of sins, which is designed to be preached in all nations, should first be offered to Jerusalem; in the first place to the worst of sinners!

Nor was this the first time that the grace, which was in the heart of Christ, thus showed itself to the world. For while he was yet alive, even while he was yet in Jerusalem, and perceived, even among these Jerusalem sinners, which was the most vile among them, he still, in his preaching, did signify that he had a desire that the worst of these worst should, in the first place, come unto him. The which he showeth, where he saith to the better sort of them, 'The publicans and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you' (Mt 21:31). Also when he compared Jerusalem with the sinners of the nations, then he commands that the Jerusalem sinners should have the gospel at present confined to them. 'Go not,' saith he, 'into the way of the Gentiles, and into any of the cities of the Samaritans enter ye not; but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel' (Mt 10:5-6; 23:37). But go rather to them, for they were in the most fearful plight. These, therefore, must have the cream of the gospel, namely, the first offer thereof, in his lifetime; yea, when he departed out of the world, he left this as part of his last will with his preachers, that they also should offer it first to Jerusalem. He had a mind, a careful mind, as it seems, to privilege the worst of sinners with the fist offer of mercy, and to take from among them a people, to be the first fruits unto God and to the Lamb.

Lu 15 also is famous for this, where the Lord Jesus takes more care, as appears there by three parables, for the lost sheep, lost groat, and the prodigal son, than for the other sheep, the other pence, or for the son that said he had never transgressed; yea, he shows that there is joy in heaven, among the angels of God, at the repentance of one sinner, more than over ninety and nine just persons which need no repentance. After this manner, therefore, the mind of Christ was set on the salvation of the biggest sinners in his lifetime. But join to this, this clause, which he carefully put into the apostles' commission to preach, when he departed hence to the Father, and then you shall see that his heart was vehemently set upon it; for these were part of his last words with them, Preach my gospel to all nations, but that you begin at Jerusalem.

Nor did the apostles overlook this clause when their Lord was gone into heaven; they went first to them of Jerusalem, and preached Christ's gospel to them; they abode also there for a season and time, and preached it to nobody else, for they had regard to the commandment of their Lord. And it is to be observed, namely, that the first sermon which they preached after the ascension of Christ, it was preached to the very worst of these Jerusalem sinners, even to those that were the murderers of Jesus Christ (Ac 2:23), for these are part of the sermon: 'Ye took him, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain him.' Yea, the next sermon, and the next, and also the next to that, was preached to the self-same murderers, to the end they might be saved (Ac 3:14-16; 4:10-11; 5:30; 7:52).

But we will return to the first sermon that was preached to these Jerusalem sinners, by which will be manifest more than great grace, if it be duly considered. For after that Peter, and the rest of the apostles, had, in their exhortation, persuaded these wretches to believe that they had killed the Prince of life; and after they had duly fallen under the guilt of their murder, saying, 'Men and brethren, what shall we do?' he replies, by an universal tender to them all in general, considering them as Christ's killers, that if they were sorry for what they had done, and would be baptized for the remission of their sins in his name, they should receive the gift of the Holy Ghost (Ac 2:37-38).

This he said to them all, though he knew that they were such sinners. Yea, he said it without the least stick or stop, or pause of spirit, as to whether he had best to say so or no. Nay, so far off was Peter from making an objection against one of them, that, by a particular clause in his exhortation, he endeavours, that not one of them may escape the salvation offered. `Repent,' saith he, 'and be baptized every one of you.' I shut out never an one of you; for I am commanded by my Lord to deal with you, as it were, one by one, by the word of his salvation. But why speaks he so particularly? Oh! there were reasons for it. The people with whom the apostles were now to deal, as they were murderers of our Lord, and to be charged in the general with his blood, so they had their various and particular acts of villany in the guilt thereof, now lying upon their consciences. And the guilt of these, their various and particular acts of wickedness, could not, perhaps, be reached to a removal thereof but by this particular application. Repent, every one of you; be baptized, every one of you, in his name, for the remission of sins, and you shall, every one of you, receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

Objector. 'But I was one of them that plotted to take away his life. May I be saved by him?'

Peter. Every one of you.

Objector. 'But I was one of them that bare false witness against him. Is there grace for me?'

Peter. For every one of you.

Objector. 'But I was one of them that cried out, Crucify him, crucify him; and desired that Barabbas, the murderer, might live, rather than him. What will become of me, think you?'

Peter. I am to preach repentance and remission of sins to every one of you, says Peter.

Objector. 'But I was one of them that did spit in his face when he stood before his accusers. I also was one that mocked him, when in anguish he hanged bleeding on the tree. Is there room for me?'

Peter. For every one of you, says Peter.

Objector. 'But I was one of them that, in his extremity, said, Give him gall and vinegar to drink. Why may not I expect the same when anguish and guilt is upon me?'4

4 All the objections are on the sinner's side, through unbelief. Christ answers them all in one word, `Whosoever will, let him come and take of the water of life freely'; and, 'Whosoever cometh, I will in no wise cast out.' Lord, put forth thy power, and give the will.—Mason.

Peter. Repent of these your wickednesses, and here is remission of sins for every one of you.

Objector. 'But I railed on him, I reviled him, I hated him, I rejoiced to see him mocked at by others. Can there be hope for me?'

Peter. There is, for every one of you. 'Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ, for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.' Oh! what a blessed 'Every one of you,' is here! How willing was Peter, and the Lord Jesus, by his ministry, to catch these murderers with the word of the gospel, that they might be made monuments of the grace of God! How unwilling, I say, was he, that any of these should escape the hand of mercy! Yea, what an amazing wonder is it to think, that above all the world, and above everybody in it, these should have the first offer of mercy! 'Beginning at Jerusalem.'

But was there not something of moment in this clause of the commission? Did not Peter, think you, see a great deal in it, that he should thus begin with these men, and thus offer, so particularly, this grace to each particular man of them?

But, as I told you, this is not all; these Jerusalem sinners must have this offer again and again; every one of them must be offered it over and over. Christ would not take their first rejection for a denial, nor their second repulse for a denial; but he will have grace offered once, and twice, and thrice, to these Jerusalem sinners. Is not this amazing grace? Christ will not be put off. These are the sinners that are sinners indeed. They are sinners of the biggest sort; consequently, such as Christ can, if they convert and be saved, best serve his ends and designs upon. Of which more anon.

But what a pitch of grace is this! Christ is minded to amaze the world, and to show that he acteth not like the children of men. This is that which he said of old, 'I will not execute the fierceness of my wrath, I will not return to destroy Ephraim; for I am God and not man' (Ho 11:9).5 This is not the manner of men; men are shorter winded; men are soon moved to take vengeance, and to right themselves in a way of wrath and indignation. But God is full of grace, full of patience, ready to forgive, and one that delights in mercy. All this is seen in our text. The biggest sinners must first be offered mercy; they must, I say, have the cream of the gospel offered unto them.

5 In this quotation, Bunyan has followed the reading in the Genevan or Puritan version.—Ed.

But we will a little proceed. In the third chapter we find, that they who escaped converting by the first sermon, are called upon again to accept of grace and forgiveness, for their murder committed upon the Son of God. You have killed, yea, 'ye denied the Holy One and the Just, and desired a murderer to be granted unto you; and killed the Prince of life.' Mark, he falls again upon the very men that actually were, as you have it in the chapters following, his very betrayers and murderers (Ac 3:14-15), as being loath that they should escape the mercy of forgiveness: and exhorts them again to repent, that their sins might 'be blotted out' (verse 19,20).

Again, in the fourth chapter, he charges them afresh with this murder (verse 10), but withal tells them salvation is in no other. Then, like a heavenly decoy, he puts himself also among them, to draw them the better under the net of the gospel; saying, 'There is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved' (verse 12).

In the fifth chapter, you find them railing at him, because he continued preaching among them salvation in the name of Jesus. But he tells them, that that very Jesus whom they had slain and hanged on a tree, him God had raised up, and exalted 'to be a Prince and a Saviour, to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins' (verse 29-31). Still insinuating, that though they had killed him, and to this day rejected him, yet his business was to bestow upon them repentance and forgiveness of sins.

`Tis true, after they began to kill again, and when nothing but killing would serve their turn, then they that were scattered abroad went everywhere preaching the word. Yet even some of them so hankered after the conversion of the Jews, that they preached the gospel only to them. Also the apostles still made their abode at Jerusalem, in hopes that they might let down their net for another draught of these Jerusalem sinners. Neither did Paul and Barnabas, who were the ministers of God to the Gentiles, but offer the gospel, in the first place, to those of them that, for their wickedness, were scattered, like vagabonds, among the nations; yea, and when they rendered rebellion and blasphemy for their service and love, they replied it was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to them (Ac 1:8; 13:46-47).

Nor was this their preaching unsuccessful among these people: but the Lord Jesus so wrought with the word thus spoken, that thousands of them came flocking to him for mercy. Three thousand of them closed with him at the first; and, afterwards, two thousand more; for now they were in number about five thousand; whereas, before sermons were preached to these murderers, the number of the disciples was not above 'a hundred and twenty' (Ac 1:15; 2:41; 4:4).

Also among these people that thus flocked to him for mercy, there was a 'great company of the priests' (Ac 6:7). Now, the priests were they that were the greatest of these biggest sinners; they were the ringleaders, they were the inventors and ringleaders in the mischief. It was they that set the people against the Lord Jesus, and that were the cause why the uproar increased, until Pilate had given sentence upon him. 'The chief priests and elders,' says the text, `persuaded (the people) the multitude, that they should ask Barabbas, and destroy Jesus' (Mt 27:20). And yet, behold the priests, yea, a great company of the priests, became obedient to the faith.6

6 An arrow, dipped in the blood of Jesus, will subdue the most obdurate heart it reaches, even those bitter enemies to Christ, the priests.—Mason.

Oh, the greatness of the grace of Christ, that he should be thus in love with the souls of Jerusalem sinners! that he should be thus delighted with the salvation of the Jerusalem sinners! that he should not only will that his gospel should be offered them, but that it should be offered unto them first, and before other sinners were admitted to a hearing of it. `Begin at Jerusalem.'

Was this doctrine well believed, where would there be a place for a doubt, or a fear of the damnation of the soul, if the sinner be penitent, how bad a life soever he has lived, how many soever in number are his sins? But this grace is hid from the eyes of men; the devil hides it from them; for he knows it is alluring, he knows it has an attracting virtue in it; for this is it that, above all arguments, can draw the soul to God. I cannot help it, but must let drop another word. The first church, the Jerusalem church, from whence the gospel was to be sent into all the world, was a church made up of Jerusalem sinners. These great sinners were here the most shining monuments of the exceeding grace of God.

Thus, you see, I have proved the doctrine; and that not only by showing you that this was the practice of the Lord Jesus Christ in his lifetime, but his last will when he went up to God; saying, Begin to preach at Jerusalem. Yea, it is yet further manifested, in that when his ministers first began to preach there, he joined his power to the word, to the converting of thousands of his betrayers and murderers, and also many of the ringleading priests, to the faith.

I shall now proceed, and shall show you, FIRST, The reasons of the point. SECOND, And then make some application of the whole.


The observation, you know, is this: Jesus Christ would have mercy offered, in the first place, to the biggest sinners, to the Jerusalem sinners: `Preach repentance, and remission of sins, in my name, among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.'

The reasons of the point are:—

First, Because the biggest sinners have most need thereof.

He that has most need, reason says, should be helped first. I mean, when a helping hand is offered, and now it is; for the gospel of the grace of God is sent to help the world (Ac 16:9). But the biggest sinner has most need.

Therefore, in reason, when mercy is sent down from heaven to men, the worst of men should have the first offer of it. 'Begin at Jerusalem.' This is the reason which the Lord Christ himself renders, why, in his lifetime, he left the best, and turned him to the worst; why he sat so loose from the righteous, and stuck so close to the wicked. 'The whole,' saith he, 'have no need of the physician, but the sick. I came not to call the righteous, but the sinners to repentance' (Mr 2:15-17).7

7 This quotation is from the Genevan or Puritan version—Ed.

Above, you read that the scribes and Pharisees said to his disciples, 'How is it that he eateth and drinketh with publicans and sinners?' Alas! they did not know the reason; but the Lord renders them one, and such an one as is both natural and cogent, saying, These have need, most need. Their great necessity requires that I should be most friendly, and show my grace first to them.

Not that the other were sinless, and so had no need of a Saviour; but the publicans and their companions were the biggest sinners; they were, as to view, worse than the scribes; and, therefore, in reason, should be helped first, because they had most need of a Saviour.

Men that are at the point to die, have more need of the physician than they that are but now and then troubled with a heart-fainting qualm. The publicans and sinners were, as it were, in the mouth of death; death was swallowing of them down:8 and, therefore, the Lord Jesus receives them first; offers them mercy first. 'The whole have no need of the physician, but the sick. I came not to call the righteous, but the sinners to repentance.' The sick, as I said, is the biggest sinner, whether he sees his disease or not. He is stained from head to foot, from heart to life and conversation. This man, in every man's judgment, has the most need of mercy. There is nothing attends him from bed to board, and from board to bed again, but the visible characters, and obvious symptoms, of eternal damnation. This, therefore, is the man that has need, most need; and, therefore, in reason, should be helped in the first place. Thus it was with the people concerned in the text; they were the worst of sinners, Jerusalem sinners, sinners of the biggest size; and, therefore, such as had the greatest need; wherefore they must have mercy offered to them, before it be offered to anywhere else in the world. 'Begin at Jerusalem,' offer mercy first to a Jerusalem sinner. This man has most need, he is furthest from God, nearest to hell, and so one that has most need. This man's sins are in number the most, in cry the loudest, in weight the heaviest, and, consequently, will sink him soonest; wherefore he has most need of mercy. This man is shut up in Satan's hand, fastest bound in the cords of his sins: one that justice is whetting his sword to cut off; and, therefore, has most need, not only of mercy, but that it should be extended to him in the first place.

8 'Death was swallowing of them down.' How very striking and full of truth is this expression! For, in proportion as the sinner violates the Divine law, so he rushes into the jaws of death and destruction. Obedience to the Divine law preserves health, bestows happiness, and prolongs life.—Ed.

But a little further to show you the true nature of this reason, to wit, That Jesus Christ would have mercy offered, in the first place, to the biggest sinners.

First, Mercy ariseth from the bowels and compassion, from pity, and from a feeling of the condition of those in misery. 'In his love, and in his pity, he redeemed them.' And again, `The Lord is pitiful, very pitiful, and of tender mercy' (Isa 63:9; Jas 5:11).

Now, where pity and compassion is, there is yearning of bowels; and where there is that, there is a readiness to help. And, I say again, the more deplorable and dreadful the condition is, the more directly Both bowels and compassion turn themselves to such, and offer help and deliverance. All this flows from our first scripture proof, I came to call them that have need; to call them first, while the rest look on and murmur.

`How shall I give thee up, Ephraim?' Ephraim was a revolter from God, a man that had given himself up to devilism; a company of men, the ten tribes that worshipped devils, while Judah kept with his God. But 'how shall I give thee up, Ephraim? How shall I deliver thee, Israel? How shall I make thee as Admah? How shall I set thee as Zeboim? [and yet thou art worse than they, nor has Samaria committed half thy sins (Eze 16:46-51)] Mine heart is turned within me, my repentings are kindled together' (Ho 11:8).

But where do you find that ever the Lord did thus rowl9 in his bowels for and after any self-righteous man? No, no; they are the publicans and harlots, idolaters and Jerusalem sinners, for whom his bowels thus yearn and tumble about within him: for, alas! poor worms, they have most need of mercy.

9 `Rowl in his bowels'; intense affection: see Phm 12.—Ed.

Had not the good Samaritan more compassion for that man that fell among thieves (though that fall was occasioned by his going from the place where they worshipped God, to Jericho, the cursed city), than we read he had for any other besides? His wine was for him, his oil was for him, his beast for him; his penny, his care, and his swaddling bands for him; for, alas! wretch, he had most need (Lu 10:30-35).

Zaccheus the publican, the chief of the publicans, one that had made himself the richer by wronging of others; the Lord at that time singled him out from all the rest of his brother publicans, and that in the face of many Pharisees, and proclaimed in the audience of them all, that that day salvation was come to his house (Lu 19:1-8).

The woman, also, that had been bound down by Satan for eighteen years together, his compassions putting him upon it, he loosed her, though those that stood by snarled at him for so doing (Lu 13:11-13).

And why the woman of Sarepta, and why Naaman the Syrian, rather than widows and lepers of Israel, but because their conditions were more deplorable; for that they were most forlorn, and furthest from help (Lu 4:25,27).

But I say, why all these, thus named? Why have we not a catalogue of some holy men that were so in their own eyes, and in the judgment of the world? Alas! if, at any time, any of them are mentioned, how seemingly coldly Both the record of scripture present them to us? Nicodemus, a night professor, and Simon the Pharisee, with his fifty pence, and their great ignorance of the methods of grace, we have now and then touched upon.

Mercy seems to be out of its proper channel when it deals with self- righteous men; but then it runs with a full stream when it extends itself to the biggest sinners. As God's mercy is not regulated by man's goodness, nor obtained by man's worthiness, so not much set out by saving of any such. But more of this anon.

And here let me ask my reader a question: Suppose that, as thou art walking by some pond side, thou shouldst espy in it four or five children, all in danger of drowning, and one in more danger than all the rest; judge which has most need to be helped out first? I know thou wilt say, he that is nearest drowning. Why, this is the case; the bigger sinner, the nearer drowning; therefore, the bigger sinner, the more need of mercy; yea, of help, by mercy, in the first place. And to this our text agrees, when it saith, 'Beginning at Jerusalem.' Let the Jerusalem sinner, says Christ, have the first offer, the first invitation, the first tender of my grace and mercy; for he is the biggest sinner, and so has most need thereof.

Second, Christ Jesus would have mercy offered, in the first place, to the biggest sinners, because when they, any of them, receive it, it redounds most to the fame of his name.

Christ Jesus, as you may perceive, has put himself under the term of a physician, a doctor for curing of diseases; and you know that applause and fame are things that physicians much desire. That is it that helps them to patients; and that, also, that will help their patients to commit themselves to their skill, for cure, with the more confidence and repose of spirit. And the best way for a doctor or physician to get himself a name, is, in the first place, to take in hand, and cure, some such as all others have given up for lost and dead. Physicians get neither name nor fame by pricking of wheals,10 or picking out thistles, or by laying of plasters to the scratch of a pin; every old woman can do this. But if they would have a name and a fame, if they will have it quickly, they must, as I said, do some great and desperate cures. Let them fetch one to life that was dead; let them recover one to his wits that was mad; let them make one that was born blind to see; or let them give ripe wits to a fool: these are notable cures, and he that can do thus, and if he doth thus first, he shall have the name and fame he desires; he may lie a-bed till noon.

10 'Wheals'; pimples, or small swellings filled with matter.—Ed.

Why, Christ Jesus forgiveth sins for a name, and so begets for himself a good report in the hearts of the children of men. And, therefore, in reason he must be willing, as, also, he did command, that his mercy should be offered first to the biggest sinners. I will forgive their sins, iniquities, and transgressions, says he, 'And it shall be to me a name of joy, a praise and an honour, before all the nations of the earth' (Jer 33:8-9).

And hence it is, that, at his first appearing, he took upon him to do such mighty works; he got a fame thereby, he got a name thereby (Mt 4:23-24).

When Christ had cast the legion of devils out of the man of whom you read (Mr 5), he bid him go home to his friends, and tell it. 'Go home,' saith he, 'to thy friends, and tell them how great things God hath done for thee, and hath had compassion on thee' (Mr 5:19). Christ Jesus seeks a name, and desireth a fame in the world; and, therefore, or the better to obtain that, he commands that mercy should first be proffered to the biggest sinners; because, by the saving of one of them, he makes all men marvel. As it is said of the man last mentioned, whom Christ cured towards the beginning of his ministry. 'And he departed,' says the text, `and began to publish in Decapolis how great things Jesus had done for him; and all men did marvel' (Mr 5:20).

When John told Christ, that they saw one casting out devils in his name, and they forbade him, because he followed not with them, what is the answer of Christ? 'Forbid him not; for there is no man which shall do a miracle in my name, that can lightly speak evil of me' (Mr 9:39). No; they will rather cause his praise to be heard, and his name to be magnified, and so put glory on the head of Christ.

But we will follow, a little, our metaphor. Christ, as I said, has put himself under the term of a physician; consequently, he desireth that his fame, as to the salvation of sinners, may spread abroad, that the world may see what he can do. And to this end, has not only commanded that the biggest sinners should have the first offer of his mercy, but has, as physicians do,11 put out his bills, and published his doings, that things may be read and talked of. Yea, he has, moreover, in these, his blessed bills, the holy scriptures I mean, inserted the very names of persons, the places of their abode, and the great cures that, by the means of his salvation, he has wrought upon them to this very end. Here is, Item, such an one, by my grace and redeeming blood, was made a monument of everlasting life; and such an one, by my perfect obedience, became an heir of glory. And then he produceth their names. Item, I saved Lot from the guilt and damnation that he had procured for himself by his incest. Item, I saved David from the vengeance that belonged to him for committing of adultery and murder. Here is, also, Solomon, Manasseh, Peter, Magdalene, and many others, made mention of in this book. Yea, here are their names, their sins, and their salvations recorded together, that you may read and know what a Saviour he is, and do him honour in the world. For why are these things thus recorded, but to show to sinners what he can do, to the praise and glory of his grace? And it is observable, as I said before, we have but very little of the salvation of little sinners mentioned in God's book, because that would not have answered the design, to wit, to bring glory and fame to the name of the Son of God.

11. `As physicians do' can now hardly be understood. In Bunyan's days, all physicians put forth their bills of `wonderful cures.'—Ed.

What should be the reason, think you, why Christ should so easily take a denial of the great ones that were the grandeur of the world, and struggle so hard for hedge-creepers12 and highwaymen, as that parable seems to import he doth, but to show forth the riches of the glory of his grace, to his praise? (Lu 14). This, I say, is one reason, to be sure. They that had their grounds, their yoke of oxen, and their marriage joys, were invited to come; but they made the excuse, and that served the turn. But when he comes to deal with the worst, he saith to his servants, Go ye out and bring them in hither. 'Go out quickly - and bring in hither the poor, the maimed, the halt, and the blind.' And they did so. And he said again, 'Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled' (Lu 14:18-19,23). These poor, lame, maimed, blind, hedge-creepers, and highwaymen, must come in, must be forced in. These, if saved, will make his merit shine.

12. `Hedge-creepers'; footpads.—Ed.

When Christ was crucified, and hanged up between the earth and heavens, there were two thieves crucified with him; and, behold, he lays hold of one of them, and will have him away with him to glory. Was not this a strange act, and a display of unthought-of grace? Were there none but thieves there, or were the rest of that company out of his reach? Could he not, think you, have stooped from the cross to the ground, and have laid hold on some honester man, if he would? Yes, doubtless. Oh! but then he would not have displayed his grace, nor so have pursued his own designs, namely, to get to himself a praise and a name; but now he has done it to purpose. For who that shall read this story, but must confess, that the Son of God is full of grace; for a proof of the riches thereof, he left behind him, when, upon the cross, he took the thief away with him to glory. Nor can this one act of his be buried; it will be talked of, to the end of the world, to his praise. 'Men shall speak of the might of thy terrible acts; and I will declare thy greatness. They shall abundantly utter the memory of thy great goodness, and shall sing of thy righteousness They shall speak of the glory of thy kingdom, and talk of thy power; to make known to the sons of men his mighty acts, and the glorious majesty of his kingdom' (Ps 145:6-12).

When the Word of God came among the conjurors and those soothsayers, that you read of (Ac 19), and had prevailed with some of them to accept of the grace of Christ, the Holy Ghost records it with a boast, for that it would redound to his praise, saying, 'Many of them also which used curious arts brought their books together, and burned them before all men; and they counted the price of them, and found it fifty thousand pieces of silver. So mightily grew the Word of God, and prevailed' (Ac 19:19-20). It wrenched out of the clutches of Satan some of those of whom he thought himself most sure. 'So mightily grew the Word of God.' It grew mightily, it encroached upon the kingdom of the devil. It pursued him, and took the prey; it forced him to let go his hold! It brought away captive, as prisoners taken by force of arms, some of the most valiant of his army. It fetched back from, as it were, the confines of hell, some of those that were his most trusty, and that, with hell, had been at an agreement. It made them come and confess their deeds, and burn their books before all men. 'So mightily grew the Word of God, and prevailed.' Thus, therefore, you see why Christ will have offered mercy, in the first place, to the biggest sinners; they have most need thereof; and this is the most ready way to extol his name 'that rideth upon the heavens' to our help. But,

Third, Christ Jesus would have mercy offered, in the first place, to the biggest sinners, because, by their forgiveness and salvation, others, hearing of it, will be encouraged the more to come to him for life.

For the physician, by curing the most desperate at the first, Both not only get himself a name, but begets encouragement in the minds of other diseased folk to come to him for help. Hence you read of our Lord, that after, through his tender mercy, he had cured many of great diseases, his fame was spread abroad: 'They brought unto him all sick people that were taken with divers diseases and torments, and those which were possessed with devils, and those which were lunatic, and those that had the palsy, and he healed them. And there followed him great multitudes of people from Galilee, and Decapolis, and Jerusalem, and Judea, and from beyond Jordan' (Mt 4:24-25). See here, he first, by working, gets himself a fame, a name, and renown; and now men take encouragement, and bring, from all quarters, their diseased to him, being helped, by what they had heard, to believe that their diseased should be healed.

Now, as he did with those outward cures, so he does in the proffers of his grace and mercy; he proffers that, in the first place, to the biggest sinners, that others may take heart to come to him to be saved. I will give you a scripture or two. I mean to show you that Christ, by commanding that his mercy should, in the first place, be offered to the biggest of sinners, has a design thereby to encourage and provoke others to come also to him for mercy. 'God,' said Paul, `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); and hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.' But why did he do all this? 'That in the ages to come he might show the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness towards us through Christ Jesus' (Eph 2:4-7). See, here is a design; God lets out his mercy to Ephesus of design, even to show to the ages to come the exceeding riches of his grace, in his kindness to them through Christ Jesus. And why, to show, by these, the exceeding riches of his grace to the ages to come, through Christ Jesus? But to allure them, and their children also to come to him, and to partake the same grace through Christ Jesus?13

13 0 sinner, beseech the Lord to enable you to welcome the grace that is welcoming you; then you shall find it, in the Lord's time, that you shall be made as kindly welcome as ever a sinner was that is now a glorified saint.—Mason.

But what was Paul, and the Ephesian sinners? (of Paul we will speak anon.) These Ephesian sinners, they were men dead in sins; men that walked according to the dictates and motions of the devil; worshippers of Diana, that effeminate goddess; men far off from God, aliens and strangers to all good things; such as were far off from that, as I said, and, consequently, in a most deplorable condition. As the Jerusalem sinners were of the highest sort among the Jews, so these Ephesian sinners were of the highest sort among the Gentiles (Eph 2:1-3,11-12; Ac 19:35). Wherefore, as by the Jerusalem sinners, in saving them first, he had a design to provoke others to come to him for mercy, so the same design is here set on foot again, in his calling and converting the Ephesian sinners, 'That in the ages to come he might show the exceeding riches of his grace,' says he, 'in his kindness towards us through Christ Jesus.' There is yet one hint behind. It is said that God saved these 'for his great love'; that is, as I think, for the setting forth, for the commendation of his love, for the advance of his love, in the hearts and minds of them that should come after. As who should say, God has had mercy upon, and been gracious to you, that he might show to others, for their encouragement, that they have ground to come to him to be saved. When God saves one great sinner, it is to encourage another great sinner to come to him for mercy.

He saved the thief, to encourage thieves to come to him for mercy; he saved Magdalene, to encourage other Magdalenes to come to him for mercy; he saved Saul, to encourage Sauls to come to him for mercy; and this Paul himself Both say, Tor this cause,' saith he, 'I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might show forth all long- suffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting' (1Ti 1:16). How plain are the words! Christ, in saving of me, has given to the world a pattern of his grace, that they might see, and believe, and come, and be saved; that they that are to be born hereafter might believe on Jesus Christ to life everlasting.

But what was Paul? Why, he tells you himself; I am, says he, the chief of sinners. I was, says he, a blasphemer, a persecutor, an injurious person; but I obtained mercy (1Ti 1:13-14). Ay, that is well for you, Paul; but what advantage have we thereby? Oh, very much, saith he; for, 'for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might show forth all long-suffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting' (verse 16). Thus, therefore, you see that this third reason is of strength; namely, that Jesus Christ would have mercy offered, in the first place, to the biggest sinners, because, by their forgiveness and salvation, others, hearing of it, will be encouraged the more to come to him for mercy. It may well, therefore, be said to God, Thou delightest in mercy, and mercy pleases thee (Mic 7:18).

But who believes that this was God's design in showing mercy of old—namely, that we that come after might take courage to come to him for mercy; or that Jesus Christ would have mercy offered, in the first place, to the biggest sinners, to stir up others to come to him for life? This is not the manner of men, 0 God! But David saw this betimes; therefore he makes this one argument with God, that he would blot out his transgressions, that he would forgive his adultery, his murders, and horrible hypocrisy. Do it, 0 Lord, saith he, do it, and 'then will I teach transgressors thy ways, and sinners shall be converted unto thee' (Ps 2:7-12). He knew that the conversion of sinners would be a work highly pleasing to God, as being that which he had designed before he made mountain or hill: wherefore he comes, and he saith, Save me, 0 Lord; if thou wilt but save me, I will fall in with thy design; I will help to bring what sinners to thee I can. And, Lord, I am willing to be made a preacher myself, for that I have been a horrible sinner; wherefore, if thou shalt forgive my great transgressions, I shall be a fit man to tell of thy wondrous grace to others. Yea, Lord, I dare promise, that if thou wilt have mercy upon me, it shall tend to the glory of thy grace, and also to the increase of thy kingdom; for I will tell it, and sinners will hear on't. And there is nothing so suiteth with the hearing sinner as mercy; and to be informed that God is willing to bestow it upon him. 'I will teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto thee.'

Nor will Christ Jesus miss of his design in proffering of mercy, in the first place, to the biggest sinners. You know what work the Lord, by laying hold of the woman of Samaria, made among the people there. They knew that she was a town sinner, an adulteress; yea, one that, after the most audacious manner, lived in uncleanness with a man that was not her husband. But when she, from a turn upon her heart, went into the city, and said to her neighbours, 'Come,' Oh, how they came! how they flocked out of the city to Jesus Christ! `Then they went out of the city, and came to him.' 'And many of the Samaritans of that city (people, perhaps, as bad as herself) believed on him for the saying of the woman, which testified, He told me all that ever I did' (Joh 4:39). That word, 'He told me all that ever I did,' was a great argument with them; for by that they gathered, that though he knew her to be vile, yet he did not despise her, nor refuse to show how willing he was to communicate his grace unto her; and this fetched over, first her, then them.

This woman, as I said, was a Samaritan sinner, a sinner of the worst complexion; for the Jews abhorred to have ought to do with them (verse 9), wherefore none more fit than she to be made one of the decoys of heaven, to bring others of these Samaritan wild-fowls under the net of the grace of Christ; and she did the work to purpose. Many, and many more of the Samaritans believed on him (verse 40-42). The heart of man, though set on sin, will, when it comes once to a persuasion that God is willing to have mercy upon us, incline to come to Jesus Christ for life. Witness those turn-aways from God that you also read of in Jeremiah; for after they had heard, three or four times over, that God had mercy for backsliders, they broke out, and said, 'Behold, we come unto thee; for thou art the Lord our God.' (Jer 3:22); or, as those in Hosea did, 'For in thee the fatherless findeth mercy' (Ho 14:1-3).

Mercy, and the revelation thereof, is the only antidote against sin. `Tis of a thawing nature; `twill loose the heart that is frozen up in sin; yea, 'twill make the unwilling willing to come to Jesus Christ for life. Wherefore, do you think, was it that Jesus Christ told the adulterous woman, and that before so many sinners, that he had not condemned her, but to allure her, with them there present, to hope to find favour at his hands? As he also saith, in another place, 'I came not to judge, but to save the world.' For might they not thence most rationally conclude, that if Jesus Christ had rather save than damn an harlot, there was encouragement for them [although great sinners] to come to him for mercy.

I heard once a story from a soldier, who, with his company, had laid siege against a fort, that so long as the besieged were persuaded their foes would show them no favour, they fought like madmen; but when they saw one of their fellows taken, and received to favour, they all came tumbling down from their fortress, and delivered themselves into their enemies' hands. I am persuaded, did men believe that there is that grace and willingness in the heart of Christ to save sinners, as the Word imports there is, they would come tumbling into his arms: but Satan has blinded their minds that they cannot see this thing. Howbeit, the Lord Jesus has, as I said, that others might take heart and come to him, given out a commandment, that mercy should, in the first place, be offered to the biggest sinners. 'Begin,' saith he, 'at Jerusalem'; and thus I end the third reason.

Fourth, Jesus Christ would have mercy offered, in the first place, to biggest sinners, because that is the way, if they receive it, most to weaken the kingdom of Satan, and to keep it lowest in every age of the world.

The biggest sinners, they are Satan's colonels and captains, the leaders of his people, and they that most stoutly make head against the Son of God. Wherefore, let these first be conquered, and his kingdom will be weak. When Ishbosheth had lost his Abner, the kingdom was made weak, nor did he sit but tottering then upon his throne. So, when Satan loseth his strong men, them that are mighty to work iniquity, and dexterous to manage others in the same, then is his kingdom weak (2Sa 3). Therefore, I say, Christ, and Both offer mercy, in the first place, to such, the more to weaken his kingdom. Christ Jesus was glad to see Satan fall like lightning from heaven; that is, suddenly, or head-long; and it was, surely, by casting of him out of strong possession, and by recovering of some notorious sinners out of his clutches (Lu 10:17-19).

Samson, when he would pull down the Philistines' temple, took hold of the two main pillars of it, and, breaking them, down came the house. Christ came to destroy the works of the devil, and to destroy by converting grace, as well as by redeeming blood. Now, sin swarms, and lieth by legions, and whole armies, in the souls of the biggest sinners, as in garrisons;14 wherefore, the way, the most direct way, to destroy it, is first to deal with such sinners by the word of his gospel, and by the merits of his passion.

14 This idea is most ingeniously and admirably displayed in Bunyan's beautiful allegory, 'The Holy War.'—Ed.

For example, though I shall give you but a homely one; suppose a family to be very lousy, and one or two of the family to be in chief the breeders, the way, the quickest way, to clean that family, or at least to weaken the so swarming of those vermin, is, in the first place, to sweeten the skin, head, and clothes of the chief breeders; and then, though all the family should be apt to breed them, the number of them, and so the greatness of that plague there, will be the more impaired. Why, there are some people that are in chief the devil's sin-breeders in the towns and places where they live. The place, town, or family where they live, must needs be horribly lousy, and, as it were, eaten up with vermin. Now, let the Lord Jesus, in the first place, cleanse these great breeders, and there will be given a nip to those swarms of sins that used to be committed in such places throughout the town, house, or family, where such sin-breeding persons used to be.

I speak by experience. I was one of these lousy ones, one of these great sin-breeders; I infected all the youth of the town where I was born, with all manner of youthful vanities. The neighbours counted me so; my practice proved me so: wherefore Christ Jesus took me first; and taking me first, the contagion was much allayed all the town over. When God made me sigh, they would hearken, and inquiringly say, What's the matter with John? They also gave their various opinions of me; but, as I said, sin cooled, and failed, as to his full career. When I went out to seek the bread of life, some of them would follow, and the rest be put into a muse15 at home. Yea, almost the town, at first, at times would go out to hear at the place where I found good; yea, young and old for a while had some reformation on them; also some of them, perceiving that God had mercy upon me, came crying to him for mercy too.

15 'A muse'; deep thought. Vulgo' vocatum, 'a brown study.' Bunyan used this word in the same sense in the first edition of 'The Pilgrim's Progress,' at the Interpreter's house: Now was Christian somewhat in a muse.' It was afterwards altered, but not improved, by substituting the words, 'in a maze.'—Ed.

But what need I give you an instance of poor I; I will come to Manasseh the king. So long as he was a ringleading sinner, the great idolater, and chief for devilism, the whole land flowed with wickedness; for he made them to sin (2Ch 33), and do worse than the heathen that dwelt round about them, or that was cast out from before them: but when God converted him, the whole land was reformed. Down went the groves, the idols, and altars of Baal, and up went true religion in much of the power and purity of it. You will say, The king reformed by power. I answer, doubtless, and by example too; for people observe their leaders; as their fathers did, so did they (2Ki 17:41). This, therefore, is another reason why Jesus would have mercy offered, in the first place, to the biggest sinners, because that is the best way, if they receive it, most to weaken the kingdom of Satan, and to keep it poor and low.

And do you not think now, that if God would but take hold of the hearts of some of the most notorious in your town, in your family, or country, that this thing would be verified before your faces? It would, it would, to the joy of you that are godly, to the making of hell to sigh, to the great suppressing of sin, the glory of Christ, and the joy of the angels of God.16 And ministers, should, therefore, that this work might go on, take advantages to persuade with the biggest sinners to come into Christ, according to my text, and their commission, 'Beginning at Jerusalem.'

16 Among all the wondrous sights that angels witness, one gives them peculiar joy—it is the poor penitent prodigal returning to God, Lu 15:10.—Ed.

Fifth, Jesus Christ would have mercy offered, in the first place, to the biggest sinners, because such, when converted, are usually the best helps in the church against temptations, and fittest for the support of the feeble-minded there.

Hence, usually, you have some such in the first plantation of churches, or quickly upon it. Churches would do but sorrily, if Christ Jesus did not put such converts among them; they are the monuments and mirrors of mercy. The very sight of such a sinner in God's house, yea, the very thought of him, where the sight of him cannot be had, is ofttimes greatly for the help of the faith of the feeble.

When the churches, saith Paul, that were in Judea, heard this concerning me, that he which persecuted them in time past, now preached the faith which once he destroyed, 'they glorified God in me' (Ga 1:20-24). 'Glorified God.' How is that? Why, they praised him, and took courage to believe the more in the mercy of God; for that he had had mercy on such a great sinner as he. They glorified God 'in me'; they wondered that grace should be so rich, as to take hold of such a wretch as I was; and for my sake believed in Christ the more.

There are two things that great sinners are acquainted with, when they come to divulge them to the saints, that are a great relief to their faith. 1. The contests that they usually have with the devil at their parting with him. 2. Their knowledge of his secrets in his workings.

1. For first, The biggest sinners17 have usually great contests with the devil at their partings; and this is an help to saints: for ordinary saints find afterwards what the vile ones find at first, but when, at the opening of hearts, the one finds himself to be as the other—the one is a comfort to the other. The lesser sort of sinners find but little of this, till after they have been some time in profession; but the vile man meets with his at the beginning. Wherefore he, when the other is down, is ready to tell that he has met with the same before; for, I say, he has had it before. Satan is loath to part with a great sinner. `What, my true servant,' quoth he, 'my old servant, wilt thou forsake me now? Having so often sold thyself to me to work wickedness, wilt thou forsake me now? Thou horrible wretch, dost not know, that thou has sinned thyself beyond the reach of grace, and dost thou think to find mercy now? Art not thou a murderer, a thief, a harlot, a witch, a sinner of the greatest size, and dost thou look for mercy now? Dost thou think that Christ will foul his fingers with thee? It is enough to make angels blush, saith Satan, to see so vile an one knock at heaven-gates for mercy, and wilt thou be so abominably bold to do it?'18 Thus Satan dealt with me, says the great sinner, when at first I came to Jesus Christ. And what did you reply? saith the tempted. Why, I granted the while charge to be true, says the other. And what, did you despair, or how? No, saith he, I said, I am Magdalene, I am Zaccheus, I am the thief, I am the harlot, I am the publican, I am the prodigal, and one of Christ's murderers; yea, worse than any of these; and yet God was so far off from rejecting of me, as I found afterwards, that there was music and dancing in his house for me, and for joy that I was come home unto him. 0 blessed be God for grace (says the other), for then, I hope, there is favour for me. Yea, as I told you, such an one is a continual spectacle in the church, for every one by to behold God's grace and wonder by.

17 This was printed in the first edition, 'the biggest sin.'—Ed.

18 How strongly does this dialogue bring to our recollection that between Christian and Apollyon in the 'The Pilgrim's Progress?'—Ed.

2. And as for the secrets of Satan, such as are suggestions to question the being of God, the truth of his Word, and to be annoyed with devilish blasphemies; none more acquainted with these than the biggest sinners at their conversion; wherefore thus also they are prepared to be helps in the church to relieve and comfort the other.

I might also here tell you of the contests and battles that such are engaged in, wherein they find the buffetings of Satan, above any other of the saints. At which time Satan assaults the soul with darkness, fears, frightful thoughts of apparitions; now they sweat, pant, cry out, and struggle for life. The angels now come down to behold the sight, and rejoice to see a bit of dust and ashes to overcome principalities and powers, and might, and dominions. But, as I said, when these come a little to be settled, they are prepared for helps for others, and are great comforts unto them. Their great sins give encouragement to the devil to assault them; and by these temptations Christ takes advantage to make them the more helpful to the churches.

The biggest sinner, when he is converted, and comes into the church, says to them all, by his very coming in, Behold me, all you that are men and women of a low and timorous spirit, you whose hearts are narrow, for that you never had the advantage to know, because your sins are few, the largeness of the grace of God. Behold, I say, in me, the exceeding riches of his grace! I am a pattern set forth before your faces, on whom you may look and take heart. This, I say, the great sinner can say, to the exceeding comfort of all the rest. Wherefore, as I have hinted before, when God intends to stock a place with saints, and to make that place excellently to flourish with the riches of his grace, he usually begins with the conversion of some of the most notorious thereabouts, and lays them, as an example, to allure others, and to build up when they are converted. It was Paul that must go to the Gentiles, because Paul was the most outrageous of all the apostles, in the time of his unregeneracy. Yea, Peter must be he, that after his horrible fall, was thought fittest, when recovered again, to comfort and strengthen his brethren (See Lu 22:31-32).

Some must be pillars in God's house; and if they be pillars of cedar, they must stand while they are stout and sturdy sticks in the forest, before they are cut down, and planted or placed there. No man, when he buildeth his house, makes the principal parts thereof of weak or feeble timber; for how could such bear up the rest? but of great and able wood. Christ Jesus also goeth this way to work; he makes of the biggest sinners bearers and supporters to the rest. This, then, may serve for another reason, why Jesus Christ gives out in commandment, that mercy should, in the first place, be offered to the biggest sinners, because such, when converted, are usually the best helps in the church against temptations, and fittest for the support of the feeble-minded there.

Sixth, Another reason why Jesus Christ would have mercy offered, in the first place, to the biggest sinners, is, because they, when converted, are apt to love him most.

This agrees both with scripture and reason. Scripture says so. To whom much is forgiven, the same loveth much. 'To whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little' (Lu 7:47). Reason says so: for as it would be the unreasonablest thing in the world to render hatred for love, and contempt for forgiveness; so it would be as ridiculous to think, that the reception of a little kindness should lay the same obligations upon the heart to love as the reception of a great deal. I would not disparage the love of Christ; I know the least drachm of it, when it reaches to forgiveness, is great above all the world; but comparatively, there are greater extensions of the love of Christ to one than to another. He that has most sin, if. forgiven, is partaker of the greatest love, of the greatest forgiveness.

I know also, that there are some, that from this very doctrine say, 'Let us do evil that good may come'; and that turn the grace of our God into lasciviousness. But I speak not of these; these will neither be ruled by grace nor reason. Grace would teach them, if they knew it, to deny ungodly courses; and so would reason too, if it could truly sense the love of God (Tit 2:11-12; Ro 12:1).

Doth it look like what hath any coherence with reason or mercy, for a man to abuse his friend? Because Christ died for me, shall I therefore spit in his face? The bread and water that was given by Elisha to his enemies, that came into the land of Israel to take him, had so much influence upon their minds, though heathens, that they returned to their homes without hurting him; yea, it kept them from coming again in a hostile manner into the coasts of Israel (2Ki 6:19-23).

But to forbear to illustrate, till anon. One reason why Christ Jesus shows mercy to sinners, is, that he might obtain their love, that he may remove their base affections from base objects to himself. Now, if he loves to be loved a little, he loves to be loved much; but there is not any that are capable of loving much, save those that have much forgiven them. Hence it is said of Paul, that he laboured more than them all; to wit, with a labour of love, because he had been by sin more vile against Christ than they all (1Co 15). He it was that 'persecuted the church of God, and wasted it' (Ga 1:13). He of them all was the only raving bedlam against the saints. 'And being exceeding mad,' says he, 'against them, I persecuted them even unto strange cities' (Ac 26:11). This raving bedlam, that once was so, is he that now says, I laboured more than them all, more for Christ than them all. But Paul, what moved thee thus to do? The love of Christ, says he. It was not I, but the grace of God that was with me. As who should say, 0 grace! It was such grace to save me! It was such marvellous grace for God to look down from heaven upon me, and that secured me from the wrath to come, that I am captivated with the sense of the riches of it. Hence I act, hence I labour; for how can I otherwise do, since God not only separated me from my sins and companions, but separated all the powers of my soul and body to his service? I am, therefore, prompted on by this exceeding love to labour as I have done; yet not I, but the grace of God with me. Oh! I shall never forget his love, nor the circumstances under which I was, when his love laid hold upon me. I was going to Damascus with letters from the high-priest, to make havoc of God's people there, as I had made havoc of them in other places. These bloody letters were not imposed upon me. I went to the high-priest and desired them of him, and yet he saved me! (Ac 9:1-2). I was one of the men, of the chief men, that had a hand in the blood of his martyr Stephen; yet he had mercy upon me! When I was at Damascus, I stunk19 so horribly like a blood-sucker, that I became a terror to all thereabout. Yea, Ananias, good man, made intercession to my Lord against me; yet he would have mercy upon me, yea, joined mercy to mercy, until he had made me a monument of grace. He made a saint of me, and persuaded me that my transgressions were forgiven me.

19 'I stunk,' in the original edition, probably meant, 'I stuck'; but all the later editions have, `I stunk.'—Ed.

When I began to preach, those that heard me were amazed, and said, 'Is not this he that destroyed them that called on this name in Jerusalem, and came hither for that intent, that he might bring them bound to the high-priest?' Hell doth know that I was a sinner; heaven doth know that I was a sinner; the world also knows that I was a sinner, a sinner of the greatest size; but I obtained mercy (Ac 9:20-21). Shall not this lay obligation upon me? Is not love of the greatest force to oblige? Is it not strong as death, cruel as the grave, and hotter than the coals of juniper? Hath it not a most vehement flame? Can the waters quench it? can the floods drown it? I am under the force of it, and this is my continual cry, What shall I render to the Lord for all the benefits which he has bestowed upon me?

Aye, Paul! this is something; thou speakest like a man, like a man affected, and carried away with the love and grace of God. Now, this sense, and this affection, and this labour, giveth to Christ the love that he looks for. But he might have converted twenty little sinners, and yet not found, for grace bestowed, so much love in them all. I wonder how far a man might go among the converted sinners of the smaller size, before he could find one that so much as looked anything this way ward. Where is he that is thus under pangs of love for the grace bestowed upon him by Jesus Christ? Excepting only some few, you may walk to the world's end, and find none. But, as I said, some there are, and so there have been in every age of the church, great sinners, that have had much forgiven them; and they love much upon this account. Jesus Christ, therefore, knows what he Both, when he lays hold on the hearts of sinners of the biggest size. He knows that such an one will love more than many that have not sinned half their sins.

I will tell you a story that I have read of Martha and Mary; the name of the book I have forgot; I mean of the book in which I found the relation; but the thing was thus:—

Martha, saith my author, was a very holy woman, much like Lazarus, her brother; but Mary was a loose and wanton creature; Martha did seldom miss good sermons and lectures, when she could come at them in Jerusalem; but Mary would frequent the house of sports, and the company of the vilest of men for lust. And though Martha had often desired that her sister would go with her to hear her preachers, yea, had often entreated her with tears to do it, yet could she never prevail; for still Mary would make her excuse, or reject her with disdain, for her zeal and preciseness in religion.

After Martha had waited long, tried many ways to bring her sister to good, and all proved ineffectual, at last she comes upon her thus: `Sister,' quoth she, 'I pray thee go with me to the temple today, to hear one preach a sermon.' `What kind of preacher is he?' said she. Martha replied, 'It is one Jesus of Nazareth; he is the handsomest man that ever you saw with your eyes. Oh! he shines in beauty, and is a most excellent preacher.'

Now, what does Mary, after a little pause, but goes up into her chamber, and, with her pins and her clouts,20 decks up herself as fine as her fingers could make her. This done, away she goes, not with her sister Martha, but as much unobserved as she could, to the sermon, or rather to see the preacher.

20 'Clouts'; patches, Jos 9:5

The hour and preacher being come, and she having observed whereabout the preacher would stand, goes and sets herself so in the temple, that she might be sure to have the full view of this excellent person. So he comes in, and she looks, and the first glimpse of his person pleased her. Well, Jesus addresseth himself to his sermon, and she looks earnestly on him.

Now, at that time, saith my author, Jesus preached about the lost sheep, the lost groat, and the prodigal child. And when he came to show what care the shepherd took for one lost sheep, and how the woman swept to find her piece which was lost, and what joy there was at their finding, she began to be taken by the ears, and forgot what she came about, musing what the preacher would make of it. But when he came to the application, and showed, that by the lost sheep, was meant a great sinner; by the shepherd's care, was meant God's love for great sinners; and that by the joy of the neighbours, was showed what joy there was among the angels in heaven over one great sinner that repenteth; she began to be taken by the heart. And as he spake these last words, she thought he pitched his innocent eyes just upon her, and looked as if he spake what was now said to her: wherefore her heart began to tremble, being shaken with affection and fear; then her eyes ran down with tears apace; wherefore she was forced to hide her face with her handkerchief, and so sat sobbing and crying all the rest of the sermon.

Sermon being done, up she gets, and away she goes, and withal inquired where this Jesus the preacher dined that day? and one told her, At the house of Simon the Pharisee. So away goes she, first to her chamber, and there strips herself of her wanton attire; then falls upon her knees to ask God forgiveness for all her wicked life. This done, in a modest dress she goes to Simon's house, where she finds Jesus sat at dinner. So she gets behind him, and weeps, and drops her tears upon his feet like rain, and washes them, and wipes them with the hair of her head. She also kissed his feet with her lips, and anointed them with ointment. When Simon the Pharisee perceived what the woman did, and being ignorant of what it was to be forgiven much (for he never was forgiven more than fifty pence), he began to think within himself, that he had been mistaken about Jesus Christ, because he suffered such a sinner as this woman was, to touch him. Surely, quoth he, this man, if he were a prophet, would not let this woman come near him, for she is a town-sinner; so ignorant are all self-righteous men of the way of Christ with sinners. But, lest Mary should be discouraged with some clownish carriage of this Pharisee, and so desert her good beginnings, and her new steps which she now had begun to take towards eternal life, Jesus began thus with Simon: 'Simon,' saith he, 'I have somewhat to say unto thee. And he saith, Master, say on. There was,' said Jesus, 'a certain creditor which had two debtors; the one owed five hundred pence, and the other fifty. And when they had nothing to pay, he frankly forgave them both. Tell me, therefore, which of them will love him most? Simon answered, and said, I suppose that he, to whom he forgave most. And he said unto him, Thou hast rightly judged. And he turned to the woman, and said unto Simon, Seest thou this woman? I entered into thine house, thou gayest me no water for my feet; but she hath washed my feet with tears, and wiped them with the hairs of her head. Thou gayest me no kiss; but this woman, since the time I came in, hath not ceased to kiss my feet. My head with oil thou didst not anoint, but this woman hath anointed my feet with ointment. Wherefore, I say unto her, Her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much; but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little. And he said unto her, Thy sins are forgiven' (Lu 7:36-48).

Thus you have the story. If I come short in any circumstance, I beg pardon of those that can correct me. It is three or four and twenty years since I saw the book; yet I have, as far as my memory will admit, given you the relation of the matter. However, Luke, as you see, Both here present you with the substance of the whole.21

21 I cannot discover in what book Bunyan read this legend; it is not in the "Golden Legend,”or any of my monkish authors. It was a generally received opinion, among the ancients, that Mary Magdalene was sister to Lazarus; but the means of her conversion is not known. The story here related is possible, and even probable; but it has no foundation in the inspired writings, nor in ancient authors.—Ed.

Alas! Christ Jesus has but little thanks for the saving of little sinners. 'To whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little.' He gets not water for his feet, by his saving of such sinners. There are abundance of dry-eyed Christians in the world, and abundance of dry- eyed duties too; duties that never were wetted with the tears of contrition and repentance, nor ever sweetened with the great sinner's box of ointment. And the reason is, such sinners have not great sins to be saved from; or, if they have, they look upon them in the diminishing glass of the holy law of God.22 But, I rather believe, that the professors of our days want a due sense of what they are; for, verily, for the generality of them, both before and since conversion, they have been sinners of a lusty size. But if their eyes be holden, if convictions are not shown, if their knowledge of their sins is but like to the eye-sight in twilight; the heart cannot be affected with that grace that has laid hold on the man; and so Christ Jesus sows much, and has little coming in. Wherefore his way is ofttimes to step out of the way, to Jericho, to Samaria, to the country of the Gadarenes, to the coasts of Tyre and Sidon, and also to Mount Calvary, that he may lay hold of such kind of sinners as will love him to his liking (Lu 19:1-11; Joh 4:3-11; Mr 5:1-20; Mt 15:21-29; Lu 23:33-43).

22 Thus Zaccheus said: 'Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have taken anything from any man, by false accusation, I restore fourfold.' The law of God requires us, dim-sighted as we are, to see our sins in their real magnitude, but the perversity of man turns the telescope to diminish them.—Ed.

But thus much for the sixth reason, why Christ Jesus would have mercy offered, in the first place, to the biggest sinners, to wit, because such sinners, when converted, are apt to love him most. The Jerusalem sinners were they that outstripped, when they were converted, in some things, all the churches of the Gentiles. They 'were of one heart, and of one soul: neither said any of them that aught of the things which he possessed was his own.' `Neither was there any among them that lacked: for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the prices of the things that were sold, and laid them down at the apostles' feet,' &c. (Ac 4:32,35). Now, show me such another pattern, if you can. But why did these do thus? Oh! they were Jerusalem sinners. These were the men that, but a little before, had killed the Prince of life; and those to whom he did, that notwithstanding, send the first offer of grace and mercy. And the sense of this took them up betwixt the earth and the heaven, and carried them on in such ways and methods as could never be trodden by any since. They talk of the church of Rome, and set her, in her primitive state, as a pattern and mother of churches; when the truth is, they were the Jerusalem sinners, when converts, that out-did all the churches that ever were.

Seventh, Christ Jesus would have mercy offered, in the first place, to the biggest sinners, because grace, when it is received by such, finds matter to kindle upon more freely than it finds in other sinners.

Great sinners are like the dry wood, or like great candles, which burn best and shine with biggest light. I lay not this down, as I did those reasons before, to show, that when great sinners are converted, they will be encouragement to others, though that is true; but to show, that Christ has a delight to see grace, the grace we receive, to shine. We love to see things that bear a good gloss; yea, we choose to buy such kind of matter to work upon, as will, if wrought up to what we intend, cast that lustre that we desire. Candles that burn not bright, we like not; wood that is green will rather smother, and sputter, and smoke, and crack, and flounce, than cast a brave light and a pleasant heat; wherefore great folks care not much, not so much, for such kind of things, as for them that will better answer their ends.

Hence Christ desires the biggest sinner; in him there is matter to work by, to wit, a great deal of sin; for as by the tallow of the candle, the first takes occasion to burn the brighter; so, by the sin of the soul, grace takes occasion to shine the clearer. Little candles shine but little, for there wanteth matter for the fire to work upon; but in the great sinner, here is more matter for grace to work by. Faith shines, when it worketh towards Christ, through the sides of many and great transgressions, and so does love, for that much is forgiven. And what matter can be found in the soul for humility to work by so well, as by a sight that I have been and am an abominable sinner? And the same is to be said of patience, meekness, gentleness, self-denial, or of any other grace. Grace takes occasion, by the vileness of the man, to shine the more; even as by the ruggedness of a very strong distemper or disease, the virtue of the medicine is best made manifest. 'Where sin abounded, grace did much more abound' (Ro 5:20). A black string makes the neck look whiter; great sins make grace burn clear. Some say, when grace and a good nature meet together, they do make shining Christians; but I say, when grace and a great sinner meet, and when grace shall subdue that great sinner to itself, and shall operate after its kind in the soul of that great sinner, then we have a shining Christian; witness all those of whom mention was made before.

Abraham was among the idolaters when in the land of Assyria, and served idols, with his kindred, on the other side of the flood (Jos 24:2; Ge 11:31). But who, when called, was there in the world, in whom grace shone so bright as in him? The Thessalonians were idolaters before the Word of God came to them; but when they had received it, they became examples to all that did believe in Macedonia and Achaia (1Th 1:6-10).

God the Father, and Jesus Christ his Son, are for having things seen; for having the Word of life held forth. They light not a candle that it might be put under a bushel, or under a bed, but on a candlestick, that all that come in may see the light (Mt 5:15; Mr 4:21; Lu 8:16; 11:33). and, I say, as I said before, in whom is it, light, like so to shine, as in the souls of great sinners?

When the Jewish Pharisees dallied with the gospel, Christ threatened to take it from them, and to give it to the barbarous heathens and idolaters. Why so? For they, saith he, will bring forth the fruits thereof in their season.23`Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof' (Mt 21:43).

23 'The friends thereof in their reason' were the words used in the first three editions by Bunyan. After his decease, they were altered, in 1697, in a second third edition, and this correction has been continued in every subsequent impression.—Ed.

I have often marvelled at our youth, and said in my heart, What should be the reason that they should be so generally at this day debauched as they are? For they are now profane to amazement; and sometimes I have thought one thing, and sometimes another; that is, why God should suffer it so to be? At last I have thought of this: How if the God, whose ways are past finding out, should suffer it so to be now, that he might make of some of them the more glorious saints hereafter. I know sin is of the devil, but it cannot work in the world without permission: and if it happens to be as I have thought, it will not be the first time that God the Lord hath caught Satan in his own design. For my part, I believe that the time is at hand, that we shall see better saints in the world than has been seen in it this many a day. And this vileness, that at present does so much swallow up our youth, is one cause of my thinking so; for out of them, for from among them, when God sets to his hand, as of old, you shall see what penitent ones, what trembling ones, and what admirers of grace, will be found to profess the gospel to the glory of God by Christ.  

Alas! we are a company of worn-out Christians; our moon is in the wane; we are much more black than white, more dark than light; we shine but a little; grace in the most of us is decayed. But I say, when they of these debauched ones that are to be saved shall be brought in—when these that look more like devils than men shall be converted to Christ (and I believe several of them will), then will Christ be exalted, grace adored, the Word prized, Zion's path better trodden, and men in the pursuit of their own salvation, to the amazement of them that are left behind.

Just before Christ came into the flesh, the world was degenerated as it is now: the generality of the men in Jerusalem were become either high and famous for hypocrisy, or filthy, base in their lives. The devil also was broke loose in hideous manner, and had taken possession of many: yea, I believe, that there was never generation before nor since, that could produce so many possessed with devils, deformed, lame, blind, and infected with monstrous diseases, as that generation could. But what was the reason thereof, I mean the reason from God? Why, one—and we may sum up more in that answer that Christ gave to his disciples concerning him that was born blind—was, that 'the works of God should be made manifest' in them, and 'that the Son of God might be glorified thereby' (Joh 9:2-3; 11:4).

Now, if these devils and diseases, as they possessed men then, were to make way and work for an approaching to Christ in person, and for the declaring of his power, why may we not think that now, even now also, he is ready to come, by his Spirit in the gospel, to heal many of the debaucheries of our age? I cannot believe that grace will take them all, for there are but few that are saved; but yet it will take some, even some of the worst of men, and make blessed ones of them. But, 0 how these ringleaders in vice will then shine in virtue! They will be the very pillars in churches, they will be as an ensign in the land. 'The Lord their God shall save them in that day as the flock of his people: for they shall be as the stones of a crown, lifted up as an ensign upon his land' (Zec 9:16). But who are these? Even idolatrous Ephraim, and backsliding Judah (verse 13).

I know there is ground to fear, that the iniquity of this generation will be pursued with heavy judgments; but that will not hinder that we have supposed. God took him a glorious church out of bloody Jerusalem, yea, out of the chief of the sinners there, and left the rest to be taken and spoiled, and sold, thirty for a penny, in the nations where they were captives. The gospel working gloriously in a place, to the seizing upon many of the ringleading sinners thereof, promiseth no security to the rest, but rather threateneth them with the heaviest and smartest judgments; as in the instance now given, we have a full demonstration; but in defending, the Lord will defend his people; and in saving, he will save his inheritance.

Nor does this speak any great comfort to a decayed and backsliding sort of Christian; for the next time God rides post with his gospel, he will leave such Christians behind him. But, I say, Christ is resolved to set up his light in the world; yea, he is delighted to see his graces shine; and therefore he commands that his gospel should, to that end, be offered, in the first place, to the biggest sinners; for by great sins it shineth most; therefore he saith, 'Begin at Jerusalem.'

Eighth, and lastly, Christ Jesus will have mercy to be offered, in the first place, to the biggest sinners, for that by that means the impenitent that are left behind will be, at the judgment, the more left without excuse.

God's Word has two edges; it can cut backstroke and fore-stroke. If it Both thee no good, it will do thee hurt; it is 'the savour of life unto life' to those that receive it, but of 'death unto death' to them that refuse it (2Co 2:15-16). But this is not all; the tender of grace to the biggest sinners, in the first place, will not only leave the rest, or those that refuse it, in a deplorable condition, but will also stop their mouths, and cut off all pretence to excuse at that day. `If I had not come and spoken unto them,' saith Christ,' saith Christ, 'they had not had sin; but now they have no cloke for their sin'—for their sin of persevering in impenitence (Joh 15:22). But what did he speak to them?

Why, even that which I have told you; to wit, That he has in special a delight in saving the biggest sinners. He spake this in the way of his doctrine; he spake this in the way of his practice, even to the pouring out of his last breath before them (Lu 23:34).

Now, since this is so, what can the condemned at the judgment say for themselves, why sentence of death should not be passed upon them? I say, what excuse can they make for themselves, when they shall be asked why they did not in the day of salvation come to Christ to be saved? Will they have ground to say to the Lord, Thou wast only for saving of little sinners; and, therefore, because they were great ones, they durst not come unto him; or that thou hadst not compassion for the biggest sinners, therefore I died in despair? Will these be excuses for them, as the case now standeth with them? Is there not everywhere in God's Book a flat contradiction to this, in multitudes of promises, of invitations, of examples, and the like? Alas! alas! there will then be there millions of souls to confute this plea; ready, I say, to stand up, and say, '0! deceived world, heaven swarms with such as were, when they were in the world, to the full as bad as you!' Now, this will kill all plea or excuse, why they should not perish in their sins; yea, the text says they shall see them there. 'There shall be weeping - when ye shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the kingdom of heaven, and you yourselves thrust out. And they shall come from the east, and from the west, and from the north, and from the south, and shall sit down in the kingdom of God' (Lu 13:28-29). Out of which company, it is easy to pick such as sometimes were as bad people as any [that] now breathe on the face of [the] earth. What think you of the first man, by whose sins there are millions now in hell? And so I may say, What think you of ten thousand more besides?

But if the Word will not stifle and gag them up—I speak now for amplification's sake—the view of those who are saved shall. There comes an incestuous person to the bar, and pleads, That the bigness of his sins was a bar to his receiving the promise. But will not his mouth be stopped as to that, when Lot, and the incestuous Corinthians, shall be set before him (Ge 19:33-37; 1Co 5:1-2).

There comes a thief, and says, Lord, my sin of thefts, I thought, was such as could not be pardoned by thee! But when he shall see the thief that was saved on the cross stand by, as clothed with beauteous glory, what further can he be able to object? Yea, the Lord will produce ten thousand of his saints at his coming, who shall after this manner 'execute judgment upon all, and so convince all that are ungodly among them - of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him' (Jude 15). And these are hard speeches against him, to say that he was not able or willing to save men, because of the greatness of their sins, or to say that they were discouraged by his Word from repentance, because of the heinousness of their offences. These things, I say, shall then be confuted. He comes with ten thousand of his saints to confute them, and to stop their mouths from making objections against their own eternal damnation.

Here is Adam, the destroyer of the world; here is Lot, that lay with both his daughters; here is Abraham, that was sometime an idolater; and Jacob, that was a supplanter; and Reuben, that lay with his father's concubine; and Judah, that lay with his daughter-in-law; and Levi and Simeon, that wickedly slew the Shechemites; and Aaron, that made an idol to be worshipped, and that proclaimed a religious feast unto it. Here is also Rahab the harlot, and Bathsheba, that bare a bastard to David. Here is Solomon, that great backslider; and Manasseh, that man of blood and a witch. Time would fail to tell you of the woman of Canaan's daughter, of Mary Magdalene, of Matthew the publican, and of Gideon and Samson, and many thousands more.

Alas! alas! I say, what will these sinners do, that have, through their unbelief, eclipsed the glorious largeness of the mercy of God, and gave way to despair of salvation, because of the bigness of their sins? For all these, though now glorious saints in light, were sometimes sinners of the biggest size, who had sins that were of a notorious hue; yet now, I say, they are in their shining and heavenly robes before the throne of God and of the Lamb, blessing for ever and ever that Son of God for their salvation, who died for them upon the tree; admiring that ever it should come into their hearts once to think of coming to God by Christ; but above all, blessing God for granting of them light to see those encouragements in his Testament; without which, without doubt, they had been daunted, and sunk down under guilt of sin and despair, as their fellow-sinners have done. But now they also are witnesses for God, and for his grace, against an unbelieving world; for, as I said, they shall come to convince the world of their speeches, their hard and unbelieving words, that they have spoken concerning the mercy of God, and the merits of the passion of his blessed Son, Jesus Christ.

But will it not, think you, strangely put to silence all such thoughts, and words, and reasons of the ungodly before the bar of God? Doubtless it will; yea, and will send them away from his presence also, with the greatest guilt that possibly can fasten upon the consciences of men.

For what will sting like this?—'I have, through mine own foolish, narrow, unworthy, undervaluing thoughts, of the love and ability of Christ to save me, brought myself to everlasting ruin. It is true, I was a horrible sinner; not one in a hundred did live so vile a life as I. But this should not have kept me from closing with Jesus Christ. I see now that there are abundance in glory that once were as bad as I have been; but they were saved by faith, and I am damned by unbelief. Wretch that I am! why did not I give glory to the redeeming blood of Jesus? Why did I not humbly cast my soul at his blessed footstool for mercy? Why did I judge of his ability to save me by the voice of my shallow reason, and the voice of a guilty conscience? Why betook not I myself to the holy Word of God? Why did I not read and pray that I might understand, since now I perceive that God said then, He giveth liberally to them that pray, and upbraideth not' (Jas 1:5).

It is rational to think, that by such cogitations as these, the unbelieving world will be torn in pieces before the judgment of Christ; especially those that have lived where they did or might have heard the gospel of the grace of God. Oh! that saying, 'It shall be more tolerable for Sodom at the judgment than for them,' will be better understood (Lu 10:8-12). This reason, therefore, standeth fast; namely, that Christ, by offering mercy, in the first place, to the biggest sinners now, will stop all the mouths of the impenitent at the day of judgment, and cut off all excuse that shall be attempted to be made, from the thoughts of the greatness of their sins, why they came not to him.

I have often thought of the day of judgment, and how God will deal with sinners at that day; and I believe it will be managed with that sweetness, with that equitableness, with that excellent righteousness, as to every sin, and circumstance and aggravation thereof, that men that are damned, shall, before the judgment is over, receive such conviction of the righteous judgment of God upon them, and of their deserts of hell-fire, that they shall in themselves conclude, that there is all the reason in the world that they should be shut out of heaven, and go to hell-fire: 'These shall go away into everlasting punishment' (Mt 25:46).24

24 Bunyan has some striking observations upon this word Go, in his work on the day of judgment. Those who refused the invitation to 'come' and receive life, when in the world, now irresistibly obey the awful mandate, 'Go,' and rush into eternal woe.—Ed.

Only this will tear [them,] that they have missed of mercy and glory, and obtained everlasting damnation, through their unbelief; but it will tear but themselves, but their own souls; they will gnash upon themselves, for that mercy was offered to the chief of them in the first place, and yet they were damned for rejecting of it; they were damned for forsaking what they had a propriety in; for forsaking their own mercy.

And thus much for the reasons. Second, I will conclude with a word of application.


First, Would Jesus Christ have mercy offered, in the first place, to the biggest sinners? Then this shows us how to make a right judgment of the heart of Christ to men. Indeed, we have advantage to guess at the goodness of his heart by many things; as by his taking our nature upon him, his dying for us, his sending his Word and ministers to us, and all that we might be saved. But this of beginning to offer mercy to Jerusalem, is that which heightens all the rest; for this Both not only confirm to us, that love was the use of his dying for us, but it shows us yet more the depth of that love. He might have died for us, and yet have extended the benefit of his death to a few, as one might call them, of the best-conditioned sinners, to those who, though they were weak, and so could not but sin, yet made not a trade of sinning; to those that sinned not lavishingly. There are in the world, as one may call them, the moderate sinners; the sinners that mix righteousness with their pollutions; the sinners that, though they be sinners, do what on their part lies—some that are blind would think so—that they might be saved. I say, it had been love, great love, if he had died for none but such, and sent his love to such; but that he should send out conditions of peace to the biggest of sinners; yea, that they should be offered to them first of all; (for so he means when he says, `Begin at Jerusalem';) this is wonderful! this shows his heart to purpose, as also the heart of God his Father, who sent him to do thus.

There is nothing more incident to men that are awake in their souls, than to have wrong thoughts of God—thoughts that are narrow, and that pinch and pen up his mercy to scanty and beggarly conclusions, and rigid legal conditions; supposing that it is rude, and an intrenching upon his majesty to come ourselves, or to invite others, until we have scraped and washed, and rubbed off as much of our dirt from us as we think is convenient, to make us somewhat orderly and handsome in his sight.25 Such never knew what these words meant, `Begin at Jerusalem.' Yea, such in their hearts have compared the Father and his Son to niggardly rich men, whose money comes from them like drops of blood. True, say such, God has mercy, but he is loath to part with it; you must please him well, if you get any from him; he is not so free as many suppose, nor is he so willing to save as some pretended gospellers imagine. But I ask such, if the Father and Son be not unspeakably free to show mercy, why was this clause put into our commission to preach the gospel? Yea, why did he say, 'Begin at Jerusalem': for when men, through the weakness of their wits, have attempted to show other reasons why they would have the first proffer of mercy; yet I can prove, by many undeniable reasons, that they of Jerusalem, to whom the apostles made the first offer, according as they were commanded, were the biggest sinners that ever did breathe upon the face of God's earth (set the unpardonable sin aside); upon which [fact] my doctrine stands like a rock, that Jesus the Son of God would have mercy, in the first place, offered to the biggest sinners. And if this doth not show the heart of the Father and the Son to be infinitely free in bestowing forgiveness of sins, I confess myself mistaken.

25 How pointed and faithful are these words? How natural it is for a poor sinner to compare himself with his fellow-worm, and say, 'Lord, I thank thee that I am not as this publican,' or as that murderer—instead of viewing himself in the gospel glass, in the presence of infinite holiness, and feeling that in his flesh there is no good thing, but putrefying sores, that he is vile and hell- deserving, and must fall into the arms of Divine mercy, crying, Lord, save, or I perish.—Ed.

Neither is there, set this aside, another argument like it, to show us the willingness of Christ to save sinners; for, as was said before, all the rest of the signs of Christ's mercifulness might have been limited to sinners that are so and so qualified; but when he says, 'Begin at Jerusalem,' the line is stretched out to the utmost; no man can imagine beyond it; and it is folly here to pinch and spare, to narrow, and seek to bring it within scanty bounds; for he plainly saith, 'Begin at Jerusalem,' the biggest sinner is the biggest sinner; the biggest is the Jerusalem sinner.

It is true, he saith, that repentance and remission of sins must go together, but yet remission is sent to the chief, the Jerusalem sinner; nor doth repentance lessen at all the Jerusalem sinner's crimes; it diminisheth none of his sins, nor causes that there should be so much as half an one the fewer; it only puts a stop to the Jerusalem sinner's course, and makes him willing to be saved freely by grace; and for time to come to be governed by that blessed word that has brought the tidings of good things to him. Besides, no man shows himself willing to be saved that repenteth not of his deeds; for he that goes on still in his trespasses, declares that he is resolved to pursue his own damnation further.

Learn then to judge of the largeness of God's heart, and of the heart of his Son Jesus Christ, by the Word; judge not thereof by feeling, nor by the reports of thy conscience; conscience is ofttimes here befooled, and made to go quite beside the Word. It was judging without the Word that made David say, I am cast off from God's eyes, and 'shall perish one day by the hand of Saul' (Ps 31:22; 1Sa 27:1). The Word had told him another thing; namely, that he should be king in his stead. Our text says also, that Jesus Christ bids preachers, in their preaching repentance and remission of sins, begin first at Jerusalem; thereby declaring most truly the infinite largeness of the merciful heart of God and his Son, to the sinful children of men. Judge thou, I say, therefore, of the goodness of the heart of God and his Son, by this text, and by others of the same import; so shalt thou not dishonour the grace of God, nor needlessly fright thyself, nor give away thy faith, nor gratify the devil, nor lose the benefit of God's Word. I speak now to weak believers.

Second, Would Jesus Christ have mercy offered, in the first place, to the biggest sinners, to the Jerusalem sinners? Then, by this also, you must learn to judge of the sufficiency of the merits of Christ; not that the merits of Christ can be comprehended, for that they are beyond the conceptions of the whole world, being called 'the unsearchable riches of Christ'; but yet they may be apprehended to a considerable degree. Now, the way to apprehend them most, is, to consider what offers, after his resurrection, he makes of his grace to sinners; for to be sure he will not offer beyond the virtue of his merits; because, as grace is the cause of his merits, so his merits are the basis and bounds upon and by which his grace stands good, and is let out to sinners. Doth he then command that his mercy should be offered, in the first place, to the biggest sinners? It declares, that there is a sufficiency in his blood to save the biggest sinners. 'The blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth from all sin.' And again, 'Be it known unto you, therefore, men and brethren, that through this man [this man's merits] is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins; and by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses' (Ac 13:38).

Observe, then, thy rule to make judgment of the sufficiency of the blessed merits of thy Saviour. If he had not been able to have reconciled the biggest sinners to his Father by his blood, he would not have sent to them, have sent to them in the first place, the doctrine of remission of sins; for remission of sins is through faith in his blood. We are justified freely by the grace of God, through the redemption that is in the blood of Christ. Upon the square, as I may call it, of the worthiness of the blood of Christ, grace acts, and offers forgiveness of sin to men (Eph 1:7; 2:13-14; Col 1:20-22). Hence, therefore, we must gather, that the blood of Christ is of infinite value, for that he offereth mercy to the biggest of sinners. Nay, further, since he offereth mercy, in the first place, to the biggest sinners, considering also, that this first act of his is that which the world will take notice of, and expect it should be continued unto the end. Also it is a disparagement to a man that seeks his own glory in what he undertakes, to do that for a spurt, which he cannot continue and hold out in. This is our Lord's own argument, He began to build, saith he, but was not able to finish (Lu 14:30).

Shouldst thou hear a man say, I am resolved to be kind to the poor, and should begin with giving handfuls of guineas, you would conclude, that either he is wonderful rich, or must straiten his hand, or will soon be at the bottom of his riches. Why, this is the case: Christ, at his resurrection, gave it out that he would be good to the world; and first sends to the biggest sinners, with an intent to have mercy on them. Now, the biggest sinners cannot be saved but by abundance of grace; it is not a little that will save great sinners (Ro 5:17). And I say again, since the Lord Jesus mounts thus high at the first, and sends to the Jerusalem sinners, that they may come first to partake of his mercy, it follows, that either he has unsearchable riches of grace and worth in himself, or else he must straiten his hand, or his grace and merits will be spent before the world is at an end. But let it be believed, as surely as spoken, he is still as full as ever. He is not a jot the poorer for all the forgiveness that he has given away to great sinners. Also he is still as free as at first; for he never yet called back this word, Begin at the Jerusalem sinners. And, as I said, since his grace is extended according to the worth of his merits. I conclude, that there is the same virtue in his merits to save now, as there was at the very beginning, Oh! the riches of the grace of Christ! Oh! the riches of the blood of Christ!

Third, Would Jesus Christ have mercy offered in the first place to the biggest sinners? Then here is encouragement for you that think, for wicked hearts and lives, you have not your fellows in the world, yet to come to him.

There is a people that therefore fear lest they should be rejected of Jesus Christ, because of the greatness of their sins; when, as you see here, such are sent to, sent to by Jesus Christ, to come to him for mercy: 'Begin at Jerusalem.' Never did one thing answer another more fitly in this world, than this text fitteth such a kind of sinners. As face answereth face in a glass, so this text answereth the necessities of such sinners. What can a man say more, but that he stands in the rank of the biggest sinners? let him stretch himself whither he can, and think of himself to the utmost, he can but conclude himself to be one of the biggest sinners. And what then? Why, the text meets him in the very face, and saith, Christ offereth mercy to the biggest sinners, to the very Jerusalem sinners. What more can be objected? Nay, he doth not only offer to such his mercy, but to them it is commanded to be offered in the first place: `Begin at Jerusalem.' Preach repentance and remission of sins among all nations: beginning at Jerusalem.' Is not here encouragement for those that think, for wicked hearts and lives, they have not their fellows in the world?

Objection. But I have a heart as hard as a rock.

Answer. Well, but this doth but prove thee a biggest sinner.

Objection. But my heart continually frets against the Lord.

Answer. Well, this doth but prove thee a biggest sinner.

Objection. But I have been desperate in sinful courses.

Answer. Well, stand thou with the number of the biggest sinners.

Objection. But my gray head is found in the way of wickedness.

Answer. Well, thou art in the rank of the biggest sinners.

Objection. But I have not only a base heart, but I have lived a debauched life.

Answer. Stand thou also among those that are called the biggest sinners. And what then? Why, the text swoops you all; you cannot object yourselves beyond the text. It has a particular message to the biggest sinners. I say, it swoops you all.26

26 `Swoop'; to seize as a hawk does his prey.—Ed.

Objection. But I am a reprobate.

Answer. Now thou talkest like a fool, and meddlest with what thou understandest not: no sin, but the sin of final impenitence, can prove a man a reprobate; and I am sure thou hast not arrived as yet unto that; therefore thou understandest not what thou sagest, and makest groundless conclusions against thyself. Say thou art a sinner, and I will hold with thee; say thou art a great sinner, and I will say so too; yea, say thou art one of the biggest sinners, and spare not; for the text yet is beyond thee, is yet betwixt hell and thee; 'Begin at Jerusalem' has yet a smile upon thee; and thou talkest as if thou wast a reprobate, and that the greatness of thy sins do prove thee so to be, when yet they of Jerusalem were not such, whose sins, I dare say, were such, both for bigness and heinousness, as thou art not capable of committing beyond them; unless now, after thou hast received conviction that the Lord Jesus is the only Saviour of the world, thou shouldst wickedly and despitefully turn thyself from him, and conclude he is not to be trusted to for life, and so crucify him for a cheat afresh. This, I must confess, will bring a man under the black rod, and set him in danger of eternal damnation (Heb 6:7-8; 10:8-9). This is trampling under foot the Son of God, and counting his blood an unholy thing. This did they of Jerusalem; but they did it ignorantly in unbelief, and so were yet capable of mercy; but to do this against professed light, and to stand to it, puts a man beyond the text indeed (Ac 3:14-17; 1Ti 1:13).

But I say, what is this to him that would fain be saved by Christ? His sins did, as to greatness, never yet reach to the nature of the sins that the sinners intended by the text had made themselves guilty of. He that would be saved by Christ, has an honourable esteem of him; but they of Jerusalem preferred a murderer before him; and as for him, they cried, Away, away with him, it is not fit that he should live. Perhaps thou wilt object, That thyself hast a thousand times preferred a stinking lust before him: I answer, Be it so; it is but what is common to men to do; nor doth the Lord Jesus make such a foolish life a bar to thee, to forbid thy coming to him, or a bond to his grace, that it might be kept from thee; but admits of thy repentance, and offereth himself unto thee freely, as thou standest among the Jerusalem sinners.

Take therefore encouragement, man; mercy is, by the text, held forth to the biggest sinners; yea, put thyself into the number of the worst, by reckoning that thou mayest be one of the first, and mayest not be put off till the biggest sinners are served; for the biggest sinners are first invited; consequently, if they come, they are like to be the first that shall be served. It was so with Jerusalem; Jerusalem sinners were they that were first invited, and those of them that came first—and there came three thousand of them the first day they were invited; how many came afterwards none can tell—they were first served.

Put in thy name, man, among the biggest, lest thou art made to wait till they are served. You have some men that think themselves very cunning, because they put up their names in their prayers among them that feign it, saying, God, I thank thee I am not so bad as the worst. But believe it, if they be saved at all, they shall be saved in the last place. The first in their own eyes shall be served last; and the last or worst shall be first. The text insinuates it, 'Begin at Jerusalem'; and reason backs it, for they have most need. Behold ye, therefore, how God's ways are above ours; we are for serving the worst last, God is for serving the worst first. The man at the pool, that to my thinking was longest in his disease, and most helpless as to his cure, was first healed; yea, he only was healed; for we read that Christ healed him, but we read not then that he healed one more there! (Joh 5:1-10). Wherefore, if thou wouldst soonest be served, put in thy name among the very worst of sinners. Say, when thou art upon thy knees, Lord, here is a Jerusalem sinner! a sinner of the biggest size! one whose burden is of the greatest bulk and heaviest weight! one that cannot stand long without sinking into hell, without thy supporting hand! 'Be not thou far from me, 0 Lord! 0 my strength, haste thee to help me!' (Ps 22:19).

I say, put in thy name with Magdalene, with Manasseh, that thou mayest fare as the Magdalene and the Manasseh sinners do. The man in the gospel made the desperate condition of his child an argument with Christ to haste his cure: 'Sire, come down,' saith he, 'ere my child die' (Joh 4:49), and Christ regarded his haste, saying, 'Go thy way; thy son liveth' (verse 50). Haste requires haste. David was for speed; 'Deliver me speedily'; 'Hear me speedily'; `Answer me speedily' (Ps 31:2; 69:17; 102:2). But why speedily? I am in 'the net'; 'I am in trouble'; 'My days are consumed like smoke' (Ps 31:4; 69:17; 102:3). Deep calleth unto deep, necessity calls for help; great necessity for present help. Wherefore, I say, be ruled by me in this matter; feign not thyself another man, if thou hast been a filthy sinner, but go in thy colours to Jesus Christ, and put thyself among the most vile, and let him alone to 'put thee among the children' (Jer 3:19). Confess all that thou knowest of thyself; I know thou wilt find it hard work to do thus: especially if thy mind be legal; but do it, lest thou stay and be deferred with the little sinners, until the great ones have had their alms. What do you think David intended when he said, his wounds stunk and were corrupted, but to hasten God to have mercy upon him, and not to defer his cure? `Lord,' says he, 'I am troubled; I am bowed down greatly; I go mourning all the day long.' I am feeble and sore broken: I have roared by reason of the disquietness of my heart' (Ps 38:3-8). David knew what he did by all this; he knew that his making the worst of his case, was the way to speedy help, and that a feigning and dissembling the matter with God, was the next way to a demur as to his forgiveness.

I have one thing more to offer for thy encouragement, who deemest thyself one of the biggest sinners; and that is, thou art as it were called by thy name, in the first place, to come in for mercy. Thou man of Jerusalem, hearken to thy call; men do so in courts of judicature, and presently cry out, 'Here, Sire'; and then they shoulder and crowd, and say, 'Pray give way, I am called into the court.' Why, this is thy case, thou great, thou Jerusalem sinner; be of good cheer, he calleth thee (Mr 10:46-49). Why sittest thou still? arise: why standest thou still? come, man, thy call should give thee authority to come. 'Begin at Jerusalem,' is thy call and authority to come; wherefore up and shoulder it, man; say, 'Stand away, devil, Christ calls me; stand away unbelief, Christ calls me; stand away, all ye my discouraging apprehensions, for my Saviour calls me to him to receive of his mercy.' Men will do thus, as I said, in courts below; and why shouldst not thou approach thus to the court above? The Jerusalem sinner is first in thought, first in commission, first in the record of names; and therefore should give attendance, with the expectation that he is first to receive mercy of God.

Is not this an encouragement to the biggest sinners to make their application to Christ for mercy? 'Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden,' Both also confirm this thing; that is, that the biggest sinner, and he that has the biggest burden, is he who is first invited. Christ pointeth over the heads of thousands, as he sits on the throne of grace, directly to such a man; and says, 'Bring in hither the maimed, the halt, and the blind; let the Jerusalem sinner that stands there behind come to me.' Wherefore, since Christ says, 'Come,' to thee, let the angels make a lane, and let all men give place, that the Jerusalem sinner may come to Jesus Christ for mercy.

Fourth, Would Jesus Christ have mercy offered, in the first place, to the biggest sinners? Then come, thou profane wretch, and let me a little enter into an argument with thee. Why wilt thou not come to Jesus Christ, since thou art a Jerusalem sinner? How canst thou find in thy heart to set thyself against grace, against such grace as offereth mercy to thee? What spirit possesseth thee, and holds thee back from a sincere closure with thy Saviour? Behold, God groaningly complains of thee, saying, 'But Israel would none of me.' When I called, none did answer' (Ps 81:11; Isa 66:4).

Shall God enter this complaint against thee? Why dost thou put him off? Why dost thou stop thine ear? Canst thou defend thyself? When thou art called to an account for thy neglects of so great salvation, what canst thou answer? or dost thou think that thou shalt escape the judgment? (Heb 2:3). No more such Christs! There will be no more such Christs, sinner! Oh, put not the day, the day of grace, away from thee! if it be once gone, it will never come again, sinner.

But what is it that has got thy heart, and that keeps it from thy Saviour? 'Who in the heaven can be compared unto the Lord? who among the sons of the mighty can be likened unto the Lord?' (Ps 89:6). Hast thou, thinkest thou, found anything so good as Jesus Christ? Is there any among thy sins, thy companions, and foolish delights, that, like Christ, can help thee in the day of thy distress? Behold, the greatness of thy sins cannot hinder; let not the stubbornness of thy heart hinder thee, sinner.

Objection. I am ashamed.

Answer. Oh! don't be ashamed to be saved, sinner.

Objection. But my old companions will mock me.

Answer. Oh! don't be mocked out of eternal life, sinner.

Thy stubbornness affects, afflicts the heart of thy Saviour. Carest thou not for this? Of old, `he beheld the city, and wept over it.' Canst thou hear this, and not be concerned? (Lu 19:41-42). Shall Christ weep to see thy soul going on to destruction, and will though sport thyself in that way? Yea, shall Christ, that can be eternally happy without thee, be more afflicted at the thoughts of the loss of thy soul, than thyself, who art certainly eternally miserable if thou neglectest to come to him. Those things that keep thee and thy Saviour, on thy part, asunder, are but bubbles; the least prick of an affliction will let out, as to thee, what now thou thinkest is worth the venture of heaven to enjoy.

Hast thou not reason? Canst thou not so much as once soberly think of thy dying hour, or of whither thy sinful life will drive thee then? Hast thou no conscience? or having one, is it rocked so fast asleep by sin, or made so weary with an unsuccessful calling upon thee, that it is laid down, and cares for thee no more? Poor man! thy state is to be lamented. Hast no judgment? Art not able to conclude, that to be saved is better than to burn in hell? and that eternal life with God's favour, is better than a temporal life in God's displeasure? Hast no affection but what is brutish? what, none at all? No affection for the God that made thee? What! none for his loving Son that has showed his love, and died for thee? Is not heaven worth thy affection? 0 poor man! which is strongest, thinkest thou, God or thee? If thou art not able to overcome him, thou art a fool for standing out against him (Mt 5:25-26). 'It is a fearful thing to fall into the hand of the living God' (Heb 10:29-31). He will gripe hard; his fist is stronger than a lion's paw; take heed of him, he will be angry if you despise his Son; and will you stand guilty in your trespasses, when he offereth you his grace and favour? (Ex 34:6-7).

Now we come to the text, 'Beginning at Jerusalem.' This text, though it be now one of the brightest stars that shineth in the Bible, because there is in it, as full, if not the fullest offer of grace that can be imagined, to the sons of men; yet, to them that shall perish from under this word, even this text will be to such one of the hottest coals in hell. This text, therefore, will save thee or sink thee: there is no shifting of it; if it saves thee, it will set thee high; if it sinks thee, it will set thee low.

But, I say, why so unconcerned? Hast no soul? or dost think thou mayest lose thy soul, and save thyself? Is it not pity, had it otherwise been the will of God, that ever thou wast made a man, for that thou settest so little by thy soul?

Sinner, take the invitation; thou art called upon to come to Christ: nor art thou called upon but by order from the Son of God, though thou shouldst happen to come of the biggest sinners; for he has bid us offer mercy, as to all the world in general, so, in the first place, to the sinners of Jerusalem, or to the biggest sinners.

Fifth, Would Jesus Christ have mercy offered, in the first place, to the biggest sinners? Then, this shows how unreasonable a thing it is for men to despair of mercy; for those that presume, I shall say something to them afterward.

I now speak to them that despair. There are four sorts of despair. There is the despair of devils; there is the despair of souls in hell; there is the despair that is grounded upon men's deficiency; and there is the despair that they are perplexed with that are willing to be saved, but are too strongly borne down with the burden of their sins.

The despair of devils, the damned's despair, and that despair that a man has of attaining of life because of his own deficiency, are all reasonable. Why should not devils and damned souls despair? yea, why should not man despair of getting to heaven by his own abilities? I, therefore, am concerned only with the fourth sort of despair, to wit, with the despair of those that would be saved, but are too strongly borne down with the burden of their sins. I say, therefore, to thee that art thus, And why despair? Thy despair, if it was reasonable, should flow from thee, because found in the land that is beyond the grave; or because thou certainly knowest that Christ will not, or cannot save thee.

But, for the first, thou art yet in the land of the living; and, for the second, thou hast ground to believe the quite contrary; Christ is able to save to the uttermost them that come to God by him; and if he were not willing, he would not have commanded that mercy, in the first place, should be offered to the biggest sinners. Besides, he hath said, 'And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely'; that is, with all my heart. What ground now is here for despair? If thou sayest, The number and burden of my sins; I answer, Nay; that is rather a ground for faith; because such an one, above all others, is invited by Christ to come unto him, yea, promised rest and forgiveness if they come (Mt 11:28). What ground then to despair? Verily, none at all. Thy despair, then, is a thing unreasonable, and without footing in the Word.

But I have no experience of God's love; God hath given me no comfort, or ground of hope, though I have waited upon him for it many a day. Thou hast experience of God's love, for that he has opened thine eyes to see thy sins: and for that he has given thee desires to be saved by Jesus Christ. For by thy sense of sin thou art made to see thy poverty of spirit, and that has laid under thee a sure ground to hope that heaven shall be thine hereafter.

Also thy desires to be saved by Christ, has put thee under another promise, so there is two to hold thee up in hope, though thy present burden be never so heavy (Mt 5:3,6). As for what thou sayest as to God's silence to thee, perhaps he has spoken to thee once or twice already, but thou hast not perceived it (Job 33:14-15). However, thou hast Christ crucified set forth before thine eyes in the Bible, and an invitation to come unto him, though thou be a Jerusalem sinner, though thou be a biggest sinner; and so no ground to despair. What if God will be silent to thee, is that ground of despair? Not at all, so long as there is a promise in the Bible, that God will in no wise cast away the coming sinner, and so long as he invites the Jerusalem sinner to come unto him (Joh 6:37).

Build not, therefore, despair upon these things; they are no sufficient foundation for it, such plenty of promises being in the Bible, and such a discovery of his mercy to great sinners of old; especially since we have withal a clause in the commission given to ministers to preach, that they should begin with the Jerusalem sinners in their offering of mercy to the world. Besides, God says, 'They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles'; but, perhaps, it may be long first. I waited long, saith David, and did seek the Lord; and, at length, his cry was heard: wherefore he bids his soul wait on God, and says, For it is good so to do before thy saints (Ps 40:1; 62:5; 52:9).

And what if thou waitest upon God all thy days? Is it below thee? And what if God will cross his book, and blot out the handwriting that is against thee, and not let thee know it as yet? Is it fit to say unto God, Thou art hardhearted? Despair not; thou hast no ground to despair, so long as thou livest in this world. `Tis a sin to begin to despair before one sets his foot over the threshold of hell-gates. For them that are there, let them despair and spare not; but as for thee, thou hast no ground to do it. What! despair of bread in a land that is full of corn! despair of mercy when our God is full of mercy! despair of mercy, when God goes about, by his ministers, beseeching of sinners to be reconciled unto him! (2Co 5:18-20). Thou scrupulous fool, where canst thou find that God was ever false to his promise, or that he ever deceived the soul that ventured itself upon him? He often calls upon sinners to trust him, though they walk in darkness, and have no light (Isa 50:10). They have his promise and oath for their salvation, that flee for refuge to the hope set before them (Heb 6:17-18).

Despair! when we have a God of mercy, and a redeeming Christ alive! For shame, forbear; let them despair that dwell where there is no God, and that are confined to those chambers of death which can be reached by no redemption. A living man despair when he is chid for murmuring and complaining! (La 3:39). Oh! so long as we are where promises swarm, where mercy is proclaimed, where grace reigns, and where Jerusalem sinners are privileged with the first offer of mercy, it is a base thing to despair. Despair undervalues the promise, undervalues the invitation, undervalues the proffer of grace. Despair undervalues the ability of God the Father, and the redeeming blood of Christ his Son. Oh unreasonable despair! Despair makes man God's judge; it is a controller of the promise, a contradictor of Christ in his large offers of mercy: and one that undertakes to make unbelief the great manager of our reason and judgment, in determining about what God can and will do for sinners. Despair! It is the devil's fellow, the devil's master; yea, the chains with which he is captivated and held under darkness for ever: and to give way thereto in a land, in a state and time that flows with milk and honey, is an uncomely thing.

I would say to my soul, '0 my soul! this is not the place of despair; this is not the time to despair in; as long as mine eyes can find a promise in the Bible, as long as there is the least mention of grace, as long as there is a moment left me of breath or life in this world, so long will I wait or look for mercy, so long will I fight against unbelief and despair.' This is the way to honour God and Christ; this is the way to set the crown on the promise; this is the way to welcome the invitation and inviter; and this is the way to thrust thyself under the shelter and protection of the word of grace. Never despair so long as our text is alive, for that Both sound it out—that mercy by Christ is offered, in the first place, to the biggest sinner.

Despair is an unprofitable thing; it will make a man weary of waiting upon God (2Ki 6:33). It will make a man forsake God, and seek his heaven in the good things of this world (Ge 4:13-18). It will make a man his own tormentor, and flounce and fling like 'a wild bull in a net' (Isa 51:20). Despair! it drives a man to the study of his own ruin, and brings him at last to be his own executioner (2Sa 17:23; Mt 27:3-5).

Besides, I am persuaded also, that despair is the cause that there are so many that would fain be Atheists in the world. For, because, they have entertained a conceit that God will never be merciful to them, therefore they labour to persuade themselves that there is no God at all, as if their misbelief would kill God, or cause him to cease to be. A poor shift for an immortal soul, for a soul who liketh not to retain God in its knowledge! If this be the best that despair can do, let it go, man, and betake thyself to faith, to prayer, to wait for God, and to hope, in despite of ten thousand doubts. And for thy encouragement, take yet, as an addition to what has already been said, the following Scripture: `The Lord taketh pleasure in them that fear him, in those that hope in his mercy' (Ps 147:11). Whence note, They fear not God, that hope not in his mercy; also, God is angry with them that hope not in his mercy; for he only taketh pleasure in them that hope. 'He that believeth,' or 'hath received his testimony, hath set to his seal that God is true' (Joh 3:33). But he that receiveth it not, 'hath made him a liar,' and that is a very unworthy thing (1Jo 5:10-11). 'Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly' multiply 'pardon' (Isa 55:7). Perhaps thou art weary of thy ways, but art not weary of thy thoughts; of thy unbelieving and despairing thoughts; now, God also would have thee cast away these thoughts, as such which he deserveth not at thy hands; for 'he will have mercy upon thee, and he will abundantly pardon.'

`0 fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken!' (Lu 24:25). Mark you, here, slowness to believe is a piece of folly. Ay! but sagest thou, I do believe some, and I believe what can make against me. Ay, but sinner, Christ Jesus here calls thee fool for not believing all. Believe all, and despair if thou canst! He that believes all, believes that text that saith, Christ would have mercy preached first to the Jerusalem sinners. He that believeth all, believeth all the promises and consolations of the Word; and the promises and consolations of the Word weigh heavier than do all the curses and threatenings of the law; and mercy rejoiceth against judgment. Wherefore believe all, and mercy will, to thy conscience, weigh judgment down, and so minister comfort to thy soul. The Lord take the yoke from off thy jaws, since he has set meat before thee (Ho 11:4). And help thee to remember that he is pleased, in the first place, to offer mercy to the biggest sinners.

Sixth, Since Jesus Christ would have mercy offered, in the first place, to the biggest sinners, let souls see that they lay right hold thereof, lest they, notwithstanding, indeed, come short thereof. Faith only knows how to deal with mercy; wherefore, put not in the place thereof presumption. I have observed, that, as there are herbs and flowers in our gardens, so there are their counterfeits in the field; only they are distinguished from the other by the name of wild ones. Why, there is faith, and wild faith; and wild faith is this presumption. I call it wild faith, because God never placed it in his garden—his church; `tis only to be found in the field—the world. I also call it wild faith, because it only grows up and is nourished where other wild notions abound. Wherefore, take heed of this, and all may be well; for this presumptuousness is a very heinous thing in the eyes of God. 'The soul,' saith he, 'that doeth ought presumptuously, whether he be born in the land, or a stranger, the same reproacheth the Lord; and that soul shall be cut off from among his people' (Nu 15:30).

The thoughts of this made David tremble, and pray that God would hold him back from presumptuous sins, and not suffer them to have dominion over him (Ps 19:13). Now, this presumption, then, puts itself in the place of faith, when it tampereth with the promise for life, while the soul is a stranger to repentance. Wherefore, you have in the text, to prevent doing thus, both repentance and remission of sins to be offered to Jerusalem; not remission without repentance, for all that repent not shall perish, let them presume on grace and the promise while they will (Lu 13:1-3).

Presumption, then, is that which severeth faith and repentance; concluding that the soul shall be saved by grace, though the man was never made sorry for his sins, nor the love of the heart turned therefrom. This is to be self-willed, as Peter has it; and this is a despising the Word of the Lord, for that has put repentance and faith together (Mr 1:15). And 'because he hath despised the Word of the Lord, and hath broken his commandment, that soul shall utterly be cut off: his iniquity shall be upon him' (Nu 15:31). Let such, therefore, look to it who yet are, and abide, in their sins; for such, if they hope, as they are, to be saved, presume upon the grace of God.27 Wherefore, presumption and not hearkening to God's Word are put together (De 17:12).

27 The convinced sinner is not content with the cry, `Deliver me from the wrath to come,' but, feeling sin to be his greatest enemy, he earnestly cries for deliverance from its dominion in this world (Ps 143).—Ed.

Again, THEN men presume, when they are resolved to abide in their sins, and yet expect to be saved by God's grace through Christ. This is as much as to say, God liketh of sin as well as I do, and careth not how men live, if so be they lean upon his Son. Of this sort are they 'that build up Zion with blood, and Jerusalem with iniquity'; that 'judge for reward, and - teach for hire, and - divine for money, and lean upon the Lord' (Mic 3:10-11). This is doing things, with an high hand, against the Lord our God, and a taking him, as it were, at the catch.28 This is, as we say among men, to seek to put a trick upon God; as if he had not sufficiently fortified his proposals of grace, by his holy Word, against all such kind of fools as these. But look to it! Such will be found at the day of God, not among that great company of Jerusalem sinners that shall be saved by grace, but among those that have been the great abusers of the grace of God in the world. Those that say, Let us sin that grace may abound, and let us do evil that good may come, their damnation is just. And if so, they are a great way off of that salvation that is, by Jesus Christ, presented to the Jerusalem sinners.

28 'At the catch.' See the dialogue between Faithful and Talkative in 'The Pilgrim's Progress.'—Ed.

I have, therefore, these things to propound to that Jerusalem sinner that would know, if he may be so bold [as] to venture himself upon this grace. 1. Dost thou see thy sins? 2. Art thou weary of them? 3. Wouldst thou, with all thy heart, be saved by Jesus Christ? I dare say no less; I dare say no more. But if it be truly thus with thee, how great soever thy sins have been, how bad soever thou feelest thy heart, how far soever thou art from thinking that God has mercy for thee, thou art the man, the Jerusalem sinner, that the Word of God has conquered, and to whom it offereth free remission of sins, by the redemption that is in Jesus Christ.

When the jailor cried out, 'Sirs, what must I do to be saved?' the answer was, 'Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved.' He that sees his sins aright, is brought to his wit's end by them; and he that is so, is willing to part from them, and to be saved by the grace of God. If this be thy case, fear not, give no way to despair; thou presumest not, if thou believest to life everlasting in Jesus Christ; yea, Christ is prepared for such as thou art. Therefore, take good courage, and believe. The design of Satan is, to tell the presumptuous that their presuming on mercy is good; but to persuade the believer, that his believing is impudent, bold dealing with God. I never heard a presumptuous man, in my life, say that he was afraid that he presumed; but I have heard many an honest humble soul say, that they have been afraid that their faith has been presumption. Why should Satan molest those whose ways he knows will bring them to him? And who can think that he should be quiet, when men take the right course to escape his hellish snares? This, therefore, is the reason why the truly humbled is opposed, while the presumptuous goes on by wind and tide. The truly humble, Satan hates; but he laughs to see the foolery of the other.  

Does thy hand and heart tremble? Upon thee the promise smiles. 'To this man will I look,' says God, 'even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word' (Isa 66:2). What, therefore, I have said of presumption, concerns not the humble in spirit at all. I therefore am for gathering up the stones, and for taking the stumbling-blocks out of the way of God's people; and forewarning of them, that they lay the stumbling-block of their iniquity before their faces; and [of those] that are for presuming upon God's mercy; and let them look to themselves (Eze 14:6-8).

Also, our text stands firm as ever it did, and our observation is still of force, that Jesus Christ would have mercy offered, in the first place, to the biggest sinners. So them, let none despair, let none presume; let none despair that are sorry for their sins, and would be saved by Jesus Christ; let none presume that abide in the liking of their sins, though they seem to know the exceeding grace of Christ; for though the door stands wide open for the reception of the penitent, yet it is fast29 enough barred and bolted against the presumptuous sinner. Be not deceived, God is not mocked; whatsoever a man sows, that he shall reap. It cannot be that God should be wheedled out of his mercy, or prevailed upon by lips of dissimulation; he knows them that trust on him, and that sincerely come to him, by Christ, for mercy (Na 1:7).

29 Printed, 'far,' in the first and second editions; altered to 'fast,' in third and subsequent editions.—Ed.

It is, then, not the abundance of sins committed, but the not coming heartily to God, by Christ, for mercy, that shuts men out of doors. And though their not coming heartily may be said to be but a sin, yet it is such a sin as causeth that all thy other sins abide upon thee unforgiven. God complains of this. 'They have not cried unto me with their heart - they return, but not to the most High.' They turned leignedly' (Jer 3:10; Ho 7:14,16). Thus doing, his soul hates [them]; but the penitent, humble, broken-hearted sinner, be his transgressions red as scarlet, red like crimson, in number as the sand; though his transgressions cry to heaven against him for vengeance, and seem there to cry louder than do his prayers, or tears, or groans for mercy; yet he is safe. To this man God will look (Isa 1:18; 66:2).

Seventh, Would Jesus Christ have mercy offered, in the first place, to the biggest sinners? Then here is ground for those that, as to practice, have not been such, to come to him for mercy.

Although there is no sin little of itself, because it is a contradiction of the nature and majesty of God, yet we must admit of divers numbers, and, also, of aggravations. Two sins are not so many as three; nor are three that are done in ignorance so big as one that is done against light, against knowledge and conscience. Also, there is the child in sin, and a man in sin that has his hairs gray and his skin wrinkled for very age. And we must put a difference betwixt these sinners also; for can it be that a child of seven, or ten, or sixteen years old, should be such a sinner—a sinner so vile in the eyes of the law as he is who has walked according to the course of this world, forty, fifty, sixty, or seventy years? Now, the youth, this stripling, though he is a sinner, is but a little sinner, when compared with such. Now, I say, if there be room for the first sort, for those of the biggest size, certainly there is room for the lesser size. If there be a door wide enough for a giant to go in at, there is certainly room for a dwarf. If Christ Jesus has grace enough to save great sinners, he has surely grace enough to save little ones. If he can forgive five hundred pence, for certain he can forgive fifty (Lu 7:41-42).

But you said before, that the little sinners must stand by until the great ones have received their grace, and that is discouraging! I answer, there are two sorts of little sinners—such as are so, and such as feign themselves so. There are those that feign themselves so, that I intended there, and not those that are, indeed, comparatively so. Such as feign themselves so, may wait long enough before they obtain forgiveness.

But again, a sinner may be comparatively a little sinner, and sensibly a great one. There are, then, two sorts of greatness in sin—greatness by reason of number; greatness by reason of thoroughness of conviction of the horrible nature of sin. In this last sense, he that has but one sin, if such an one could be found, may, in his own eyes, find himself the biggest sinner in the world. Let this man or this child, therefore, put himself among the great sinners, and plead with God as great sinners do, and expect to be saved with the great sinners, and as soon and as heartily as they. Yea, a little sinner, that, comparatively, is truly so, if he shall graciously give way to conviction, and shall, in God's light, diligently weigh the horrible nature of his own sin, may yet sooner obtain forgiveness for them at the hands of the heavenly Father, than he that has ten times his sins, and so cause to cry ten times harder to God for mercy.

For the grievousness of the cry is a great thing with God; for if he will hear the widow, if she cries at all, how much more if she cries most grievously? (Ex 22:22-23). It is not the number, but the true sense of the abominable nature of sin, that makes the cry for pardon lamentable!30 He, as I said, that has many sins, may not cry so loud in the ears of God as he that has far fewer; he, in our present sense, that is in his own eyes the biggest sinner, is he that soonest findeth mercy. The offer, then, is to the biggest sinner; to the biggest sinner first, and the mercy is first obtained by him that first confesseth himself to be such an one.  

30 The blind men, who implored the mercy of Jesus, would not be checked even by the multitude, but cried so much the more. When a true sense of misery urges, neither men nor devils can stop the cry for mercy, till Jesus has compassion and heals their spiritual maladies.—Mason.

There are men that strive at the throne of grace for mercy, by pleading the greatness of their necessity. Now their plea, as to the prevalency of it, lieth not in their counting up of the number, but in the sense of the greatness of their sins, and in the vehemency of their cry for pardon. And it is observable, that though the birthright was Reuben's, and, for his foolishness, given to the sons of Joseph, yet Judah prevailed above his brethren, and of him came the Messiah (1Ch 5:1-2). There is a heavenly subtilty to be managed in this matter. `Thy brother came with subtilty, and hath taken away thy blessing.' The blessing belonged to Esau, but Jacob by his diligence made it his own (Ge 27:35). The offer is to the biggest sinner, to the biggest sinner first; but if he forbear to cry, the sinner that is a sinner less by far than he, both as to number and the nature of transgression, may get the blessing first, if he shall have grace to bestir himself well; for the loudest cry is heard furthest, and the most lamentable pierces soonest.

I therefore urge this head, not because I would have little sinners go and tell God that they are little sinners, thereby to think to obtain his mercy; for, verily, so they are never like to have it; for such words declare, that such an one hath no true sense at all of the nature of his sins. Sin, as I said, in the nature of it, is horrible, though it be but one single sin as to act; yea, though it be but a sinful thought; and so worthily calls for the damnation of the soul. The comparison, then, of little and great sinners, is to go for good sense among men. But to plead the fewness of thy sins, or the comparative harmlessness of their quantity before God, argueth no sound knowledge of the nature of thy sin, and so no true sense of the nature or need of mercy.

Little sinner! when therefore thou goest to God, though thou knowest in thy conscience that thou, as to acts, art no thief, no murderer, no whore, no liar, no false swearer, or the like, and in reason must needs understand that thus thou art not so profanely vile as others; yet when thou goest to God for mercy, know no man's sins but thine own, make mention of no man's sins but thine own. Also labour not to lessen thy own, but magnify and greaten them by all just circumstances, and be as if there was never a sinner in the world but thyself. Also cry out, as if thou wast but the only undone man; and that is the way to obtain God's mercy.

It is one of the comeliest sights in the world to see a little sinner commenting upon the greatness of his sins, multiplying and multiplying them to himself, till he makes them in his own eyes bigger and higher than he seeth any other man's sins to be in the world; and as base a thing it is to see a man do otherwise, and as basely will come on it (Lu 18:10-14). As, therefore, I said to the great sinner before, let him take heed lest he presume; I say now to the little sinner, let him take heed that he do not dissemble; for there is as great an aptness in the little sinner to dissemble, as there is in the great one. 'He that hideth his sins shall not prosper,'31 be he a sinner little or great (Prow 28:13).

Eighth, Would Jesus Christ have mercy offered, in the first place, to the biggest sinners? Then this shows the true cause why Satan makes such head as he loth against him.

The Father and the Holy Spirit are well spoken of by all deluders and deceived persons; Christ only is the rock of offence. 'Behold, I lay in Zion a stumbling-stone and rock of offence' (Ro 9:33). Not that Satan careth for the Father or the Spirit more than he careth for the Son; but he can let men alone with their notions of the Father and the Spirit, for he knows they shall never enjoy the Father or the Spirit, if indeed they receive not the merits of the Son. `He that hath the Son, hath life; he that hath not the Son of God hath not life,' however they may boast themselves of the Father and the Spirit (1Jo 5:12). Again, 'Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son' (2Jo 9). Christ, and Christ only, is he that can make us capable to enjoy God with life and joy to all eternity. Hence he calls himself the way to the Father, the true and living way (Joh 14:6). For we cannot come to the Father but by him (Heb 10:19-20). Satan knows this, therefore he hates him. Deluded persons are ignorant of this, and therefore, they are so led up and down by Satan by the nose as they are.  

31 Quoted from the Puritan or Genevan version of the Bible; our translation has, 'He that covereth.'—Ed.

There are many things by which Satan has taken occasion to greaten his rage against Jesus Christ. As, first, His love to man, and then, the many expressions of that love. He hath taken man's nature upon him; he hath in that nature fulfilled the law to bring in righteousness for man; and hath spilt his blood for the reconciling of man to God; he hath broke the neck of death, put away sin, destroyed the works of the devil, and got into his own hands the keys of death; and all these are heinous things to Satan. He cannot abide Christ for this. Besides, He hath eternal life in himself, and that to bestow upon us; and we in all likelihood are to possess the very places from which the Satans by transgression fell, if not places more glorious. Wherefore he must needs be angry. And is it not a vexatious thing to him, that we should be admitted to the throne of grace by Christ, while he stands bound over in chains of darkness, to answer for his rebellions against God and his Son, at the terrible day of judgment. Yea, we poor dust and ashes must become his judges, and triumph over him for ever: and all this long32 of Jesus Christ; for he is the meritorious cause of all this.

32 'Long of Jesus Christ'; a provincial expression, meaning 'all this belongs to us by Jesus Christ.'—Ed.

Now though Satan seeks to be revenged for this, yet he knows it is in vain to attack the person of Christ; He [Christ] has overcome him; therefore he [Satan] tampers with a company of silly men; that he may vilify him by them. And they, bold fools as they are, will not spare to spit in his face. They will rail at his person, and deny the very being of it; they will rail at his blood, and deny the merit and worth of it. They will deny the very end why he accomplished the law, and by jiggs, and tricks, and quirks, which he helpeth them to, they set up fond names and images in his place, and give the glory of a Saviour to them. Thus Satan worketh under the name of Christ; and his ministers under the name of the ministers of righteousness.

And by his wiles and stratagems he undoes a world of men; but there is a seed, and they shall serve him, and it shall be counted to the Lord for a generation. These shall see their sins, and that Christ is the way to happiness. These shall venture themselves, both body and soul, upon his worthiness. All this Satan knows, and therefore his rage is kindled the more. Wherefore, according to his ability and allowance, he assaulteth, tempteth, abuseth, and stirs up what he can to be hurtful to these poor people, that he may, while his time shall last, make it as hard and difficult for them to go to eternal glory as he can. Ofttimes he abuses them with wrong apprehensions of God, and with wrong apprehensions of Christ. He also casts them into the mire, to the reproach of religion, the shame of their brethren, the derision of the world, and dishonour of God. He holds our hands while the world buffets us; he puts bear-skins upon us, and then sets the dogs at us. He bedaubeth us with his own foam, and then tempts us to believe that that bedaubing comes from ourselves.33

33 How admirable an illustration is this of the Slough of Despond, into which Christian and Pliable fell in `The Pilgrim's Progress.'—Ed.

Oh! the rage and the roaring of this lion, and the hatred that he manifests against the Lord Jesus, and against them that are purchased with his blood! But yet, in the midst of all this, the Lord Jesus sends forth his herald to proclaim in the nations his love to the world, and to invite them to come in to him for life. Yea, his invitation is so large, that it offereth his mercy in the first place to the biggest sinners of every age, which augments the devil's rage the more. Wherefore, as I said before, fret he, fume he, the Lord Jesus will 'divide the spoil' with this great one; yea, he shall divide the spoil with the strong, 'because he hath poured out his soul unto death, and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors' (Isa 53:12).

Ninth, Would Jesus Christ have mercy offered, in the first place, to the biggest sinners? Let the tempted harp upon this string for their help and consolation.

The tempted, wherever he dwells, always thinks himself the biggest sinner, one most unworthy of eternal life. This is Satan's master argument; thou art a horrible sinner, a hypocrite, one that has a profane heart, and one that is an utter stranger to a work of grace. I say this is his maul, his club,34 his masterpiece; he Both with this as some do with their most enchanting songs, sings them everywhere. I believe there are but few saints in the world that have not had this temptation sounding in their ears. But were they but aware, Satan by all this does but drive them to the gap out at which they should go, and so escape his roaring. Saith he, thou art a great sinner, a horrible sinner, a profane-hearted wretch, one that cannot be matched for a vile one in the country. And all this while Christ says to his ministers, offer mercy, in the first place, to the biggest sinners. So that this temptation drives thee directly into the arms of Jesus Christ.

34 This illustrates Bunyan's meaning of the Giant of Sophistry, named Maul, whose head was cut off by Great-heart, in the Second Part of 'The Pilgrim's Progress.'—Ed.

Were therefore the tempted but aware, he might say, 'Ay, Satan, so I am, I am a sinner of the biggest size, and therefore have most need of Jesus Christ; yea, because I am such a wretch, therefore Jesus Christ calls me; yea, he calls me first; the first proffer of the gospel is to be made to the Jerusalem sinner; I am he, wherefore stand back, Satan; make a lane, my right is first to come to Jesus Christ.' This now would be like for like. This would foil the devil; this would make him say, I must not deal with this man thus; for then I put a sword into his hand to cut off my head.

And this is the meaning of Peter, when he saith, 'Resist him steadfast in the faith' (1Pe 5:9). And of Paul, when he saith, 'Take the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked' (Eph 6:16). Wherefore is it said, Begin at Jerusalem, if the Jerusalem sinner is not to have the benefit of it? And if I am to have the benefit of it, let me call it to mind when Satan haunts me with continual remembrance of my sins, of my Jerusalem sins. Satan and my conscience say I am the biggest sinner:—Christ offereth mercy, in the first place, to the biggest sinners! Nor is the manner of the offer other but such as suiteth with my mind. I am sorry for my sin; yea, sorry at my heart that ever sinful thought did enter, or find the least entertainment in my wicked mind: and might I obtain my wish, I would never more that my heart should be a place for ought but the grace, and spirit, and faith of the Lord Jesus. I speak not this to lessen my wickedness; I would not for all the world but be placed by mine own conscience in the very front of the biggest sinners, that I might be one of the first that are beckoned, by the gracious hand of Jesus the Saviour, to come to him for mercy.

Well, sinner, thou now speakest like a Christian; but say thus, in a strong spirit, in the hour of temptation, and then thou wilt, to thy commendation and comfort, quit thyself well. This improving of Christ, in dark hours, is the life, though the hardest part of our Christianity. We should neither stop at darkness nor at the raging of our lusts, but go on in a way of venturing, and casting the whole of our affairs for the next world at the foot of Jesus Christ. This is the way to make the darkness light, and also to allay the raging of corruption.

The first time the Passover was eaten was in the night; and when Israel took courage to go forward, though the sea stood in their way like a devouring gulf, and the host of the Egyptians follow them at the heels; yet the sea gives place, and their enemies were as still as a stone till they were gone over (Ex 12:8; 14:13-14,21-22; 15:16).

There is nothing like faith to help at a pinch; faith dissolves doubts as the sun drives away the mists. And that you may not be put out, know your time, as I said, of believing is always. There are times when some graces may be out of use, but there is no time wherein faith can be said to be so. Wherefore, faith must be always in exercise. Faith is the eye, is the mouth, is the hand, and one of these is of use all day long. Faith is to see, to receive, to work, or to eat; and a Christian should be seeing, or receiving, or working, or feeding all day long. Let it rain, let it blow, let it thunder, let it lighten, a Christian must still believe. At 'what time,' said the good man, 'I am afraid, I will trust in thee' (Ps 56:2-3).

Nor can we have a better encouragement to do this than is, by the text, set before us; even an open heart for a Jerusalem sinner. And if for a Jerusalem sinner to come, then for such an one when come. If for such an one to be saved, then for such an one that is saved. If for such an one to be pardoned his great transgressions, then for such an one who is pardoned these to come daily to Jesus Christ too, to be cleansed and set free from his common infirmities, and from the iniquities of his holy things. Therefore, let the poor sinner that would be saved labour for skill to make the best improvement of the grace of Christ to help him against the temptations of the devil and his sins.

Tenth, Would Jesus Christ have mercy offered, in the first place, to the biggest sinners? Let those men consider this that have, or may, in a day of trial, spoken or done what their profession or conscience told them they should not, and that have the guilt and burden thereof upon their consciences.

Whether a thing be wrong or right, guilt may pursue him that doth contrary to his conscience. But suppose a man should deny his God, or his Christ, or relinquish a good profession, and be under the real guilt thereof, shall he, therefore, conclude he is gone for ever? Let him come again with Peter's tears, and no doubt but he shall obtain Peter's forgiveness; for the text includes the biggest sinners. And it is observable, that before this clause was put into this commission, Peter was pardoned his horrible revolt from his Master. He that revolteth in the day of trial, if he is not shot quite dead upon the place, but is sensible of his wound, and calls out for a chirurgeon, shall find his Lord at hand to pour wine and oil into his wounds, that he may again be healed, and to encourage him to think that there may be mercy for him; besides what we find recorded of Peter, you read in the Acts, some were, through the violence of their trials, compelled to blaspheme, and yet are called saints (Ac 26:9-11).

Hence you have a promise or two that speak concerning such kind of men, to encourage us to think that, at least, some of them shall come back to the Lord their God. 'Shall they fall,' saith he, 'and not arise? Shall he turn away, and not return?' (Jer 8:4). 'and in that day will I assemble her that halteth, and I will gather her that is driven out, and her that I have afflicted. And I will make her that halted a remnant, and her that was cast far off a strong nation; and the Lord shall reign over them in Mount Zion for ever.' What we are to understand by her that halteth, is best expressed by the prophet Elijah (Mic 4:6-7; Zep 3:19; 1Ki 18:21).

I will conclude, then, that for them that have halted, or may halt, the Lord has mercy in the bank,35 and is willing to accept them if they return to him again. Perhaps they may never be after that of any great esteem in the house of God, but if the Lord will admit them to favour and forgiveness - O exceeding and undeserved mercy! (See Eze 44:10-14). Thou, then, that mayest be the man, remember this, that there is mercy also for thee. Return, therefore, to God, and to his Son, who hath yet in store for thee, and who will do thee good.

35 The treasures of this bank are inexhaustible and unsearchable. Oh for faith, that we may draw largely upon its infinite riches!—Ed.

But, perhaps, thou wilt say, He doth not save all revolters, and, therefore, perhaps not me. Answer. Art thou returning to God? If thou art returning, thou art the man; 'Return, ye backsliding children, and I will heal your backslidings' (Jer 3:22).

Some, as I said, that revolt, are shot dead upon the place; and for them, who can help them? But for them that cry out of their wounds it is a sign that they are yet alive, and, if they use the means in time, doubtless they may be healed.

Christ Jesus has bags of mercy that were never yet broken up or unsealed. Hence it is said, he has goodness laid up; things reserved in heaven for his. And if he breaks up one of these bags, who can tell what he can do? Hence his love is said to be such as passeth knowledge, and that his riches are unsearchable. He has, nobody knows what; for nobody knows who! He has by him, in store, for such as seem, in the view of all men, to be gone beyond recovery. For this, the text is plain. What man or angel could have thought that the Jerusalem sinners had been yet on this side of an impossibility of enjoying life and mercy? Hadst thou seen their actions, and what horrible things they did to the Son of God; yea, how stoutly they backed what they did with resolves and endeavours to persevere, when they had killed his person, against his name and doctrine; and that there was not found among them all that while, as we read of, the least remorse or regret for these their doings; couldest though have imagined that mercy would ever have took hold of them, at least so soon! Nay, that they should, of all the world, be counted those only meet to have it offered to them in the very first place! For so my text commands, saying, Preach repentance and remission of sins among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.

I tell you the thing is a wonder, and must for ever stand for a wonder among the sons of men. It stands, also, for an everlasting invitation and allurement to the biggest sinners to come to Christ for mercy. Now since, in the opinion of all men, the revolter is such an one; if he has, as I said before, any life in him, let him take encouragement to come again, that he may live by Christ.

Eleventh, Would Jesus Christ have mercy offered, in the first place, to the biggest sinners? Then let God's ministers tell them so.

There is an incidence36 in us, I know not how it doth come about, when we are converted, to contemn them that are left behind. Poor fools as we are, we forget that we ourselves were so (Tit 3:2-3).

36 'Incidence'; the direction with which one body strikes another; now obsolete.—Ed.

But would it not become us better, since we have tasted that the Lord is gracious, to carry it towards them so, that we may give them convincing ground to believe that we have found that mercy which also sets open the door for them to come and partake with us. Ministers, I say, should do thus, both by their doctrine, and in all other respects. Austerity doth not become us, neither in doctrine nor in conversation.37 We ourselves live by grace; let us give as we receive, and labour to persuade our fellow-sinners, which God has left behind us, to follow after, that they may partake with us of grace. We are saved by grace; let us live like them that are gracious. Let all our things, to the world, be done in charity towards them; pity them, pray for them, be familiar with them, for their good. Let us lay aside our foolish, worldly, carnal grandeur; let us not walk the streets, and have such behaviours as signify we are scarce for touching of the poor ones that are left behind; no, not with a pair of tongs. It becomes not ministers thus to do.

37 A sour, crabbed Christian, is a contradiction in terms. The precept is, 'Be ye kind one to another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, even as God, for Christ's sake, hath forgiven you' (Eph 4:31).—Mason

[A gentle reproof.]

Remember your Lord, he was familiar with publicans and sinners to a proverb: 'Behold a man gluttonous, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners' (Mt 11:19). The first part, concerning his gluttonous eating and drinking, to be sure, was an horrible slander; but for the other, nothing was ever spoke truer of him by the world. Now, why should we lay hands cross on this text; that is, choose good victuals, and love the sweet wine better than the salvation of the poor publican? Why not familiar with sinners, provided we hate their spots and blemishes, and seek that they may be healed of them? Why not fellowly with our carnal neighbours? If we do take occasion to do so, that we may drop, and be yet distilling some good doctrine upon their souls? Why not go to the poor man's house, and give him a penny, and a Scripture to think upon? Why not send for the poor to fetch away, at least, the fragments of thy table, that the bowels of thy fellow- sinner may be refreshed as well as thine?

Ministers should be exemplary; but I am an inferior man, and must take heed of too much meddling. But might I, I would meddle with them, with their wives, and with their children too. I mean not this of all, but of them that deserve it, though I may not name them. But, I say, let ministers follow the steps of their blessed Lord, who, by word and deed, showed his love to the salvation of the world, in such a carriage as declared him to prefer their salvation before his own private concern. For we are commanded to follow his steps, 'who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth.'

And as I have said concerning ministers, so I say to all the brethren, Carry it so, that all the world may see, that indeed you are the sons of love. Love your Saviour; yea, show one to another that you love him, not only by a seeming love of affection, but with the love of duty. Practical love is best.38 Many love Christ with nothing but the lick of the tongue. Alas! Christ Jesus the Lord must not be put off thus; `He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them,' saith he, 'he it is that loveth me' (Joh 14:21). Practical love, which stands in self-denial, in charity to my neighbour, and a patient enduring of affliction for his name; this is counted love. Right love to Christ is that which carries in it a provoking argument to others of the brethren (Heb 10:24). Should a man ask me how he should know that he loveth the children of God? the best answer I could give him, would be in the words of the apostle John; 'By this,' saith he, 'we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments' (1Jo 5:2). Love to God and Christ is then shown, when we are tender of his name; and then we show ourselves tender of his name, when we are afraid to break any, the least of his commandments. And when we are here, then do we show our love to our brother also.

38 The true branches in Christ, the heavenly vine, are made fruitful in love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance. By these it will appear that Christ is formed within us. Mere 'lick of the tongue' love, without these, is an unsubstantial shadow.—Ed.

[The Conclusion.]

Now, we have obligation sufficient thus to do, for that our Lord loved us, and gave himself for us, to deliver us from death, that we might live through him. The world, when they hear the doctrine that I have asserted and handled in this little book; to wit, that Jesus Christ would have mercy offered, in the first place, to the biggest sinners, will be apt, because themselves are unbelievers, to think that this is a doctrine that leads to looseness, and that gives liberty to the flesh; but if you that believe love your brethren and your neighbours truly, and as you should, you will put to silence the ignorance of such foolish men, and stop their mouths from speaking evil of you. And, I say, let the love of Christ constrain us to this. Who deserveth our heart, our mouth, our life, our goods, so much as Jesus Christ, who has bought us to himself by his blood, to this very end, that we should be a peculiar people, zealous of good works?

There is nothing more seemly in the world than to see a Christian walk as becomes the gospel; nor anything more unbecoming a reasonable creature, than to hear a man say, 'I believe in Christ,' and yet see in his life debauchery and profaneness. Might I, such men should be counted the basest of men; such men should be counted by all unworthy of the name of a Christian, and should be shunned by every good man, as such who are the very plague of profession. For so it is written, we should carry it towards them. Whoso have a form of godliness, and deny the power thereof, from such we must turn away.

It has ofttimes come into my mind to ask, By what means it is that the gospel profession should be so tainted39 with loose and carnal gospellers? and I could never arrive to better satisfaction in the matter than this—such men are made professors by the devil, and so by him put among the rest of the godly. A certain man had a fruitless fig tree planted in his vineyard; but by whom was it planted there? even by him that sowed the tares, his own children, among the wheat (Lu 13:6; Mt 13:37-40). And that was the devil. But why Both the devil do thus? Not of love to them, but to make of them offences and stumbling-blocks to others. For he knows that a loose professor in the church does more mischief to religion than ten can do to it that are in the world. Was it not, think you, the devil that stirred up the damsel that you read of in Ac 16 to cry out, 'These men are the servants of the most high God, which show unto us the way of salvation?' Yes it was, as is evident, for Paul was grieved to hear it. But why did the devil stir up her to cry so, but because that was the way to blemish the gospel, and to make the world think that it came from the same hand as did her soothsaying and witchery? (verse 16-18). 'Holiness, 0 Lord, becomes thy house for ever.' Let, therefore, whoever they be that profess the name of Christ, take heed that they scandal not that profession which they make of him, since he has so graciously offered us, as we are sinners of the biggest size, in the first place, his grace to save us.

39 Be so taunted'; in editions previous to 1697.—Ed.

[Answers to Objections.]

Having thus far spoken of the riches of the grace of Christ, and of the freeness of his heart to embrace the Jerusalem sinners, it may not be amiss to give you yet, as a caution, an intimation of one thing, namely, that this grace and freeness of his heart, is limited to time and day; the which, whoso overstandeth, shall perish notwithstanding. For, as a king, who, of grace, sendeth out to his rebellious people an offer of pardon, if they accept thereof by such a day, yet beheadeth or hangeth those that come not in for mercy until the day or time be past; so Christ Jesus has set the sinner a day, a day of salvation, an acceptable time; but he who standeth out, or goeth on in rebellion beyond that time, is like to come off with the loss of his soul (2Co 6:2; Heb 3:13-19; 4:7; Lu 19:41-42). Since, therefore, things are thus, it may be convenient here to touch a little upon these particulars.

First, That this day, or time thus limited, when it is considered with reference to this or that man, is ofttimes undiscerned by the person concerned therein, and always is kept secret as to the shutting up thereof.

And this, in the wisdom of God is thus, to the end no man, when called upon, should put off turning to God to another time. Now, and TODAY, is that and only that which is revealed in holy Writ (Ps 50:22; Ec 12:1; Heb 3:13,15). And this shows us the desperate hazards which those men run, who, when invitation or conviction attends them, put off turning to God to be saved till another, and, as they think, a more fit season and time. For many, by so doing, defer this to do till the day of God's patience and long-suffering is ended; and then, for their prayers and cries after mercy, they receive nothing but mocks, and are laughed at by the God of heaven (Prow 1:20-30; Isa 65:12-16; 66:4; Zec 7:11-13).

Secondly, Another thing to be considered is this, namely, That the day of God's grace with some men begins sooner, and also sooner ends, than it Both with others. Those at the first hour of the day, had their call sooner than they who were called upon to turn to God at the sixth hour of the day; yea, and they who were hired at the third hour, had their call sooner than they who were called at the eleventh (Mt 20:1-6).

1. The day of God's patience began with Ishmael, and also ended before he was twenty years old. At thirteen years of age he was circumcised; the next year after, Isaac was born; and then Ishmael was fourteen years old. Now, that day that Isaac was weaned, that day was Ishmael rejected; and suppose that Isaac was three years old before he was weaned, that was but the seventeenth year of Ishmael; wherefore the day of God's grace was ended with him betimes (Ge 17:25; 21:2-11; Ga 4:30).

2. Cain's day ended with him betimes; for, after God had rejected him, he lived to beget many children, and build a city, and to do many other things. But, alas! all that while he was a fugitive and a vagabond. Nor carried he anything with him after the day of his rejection was come, but this doleful language in his conscience. 'From God's face shall I be hid' (Ge 4:10-15).

3. Esau, through his extravagancies, would needs go sell his birthright, not fearing, as other confident fools, but that yet the blessing would still be his. After which, he lived many years; but all of them under the wrath of God, as was, when time came, made to appear to his destruction; for, 'when he would have inherited the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no place of repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears' (Heb 12:16-17).

Many instances might be given as to such tokens of the displeasure of God against such as fool away, as the wise man has it, the prize which is put into their hand (Prow 17:16).

Let these things, therefore, be a further caution to those that sit under the glorious sound of the gospel, and hear of the riches of the grace of God in Christ to poor sinners. To slight grace, to despise mercy, and to stop the ear when God speaks, when he speaks such great things, so much to our profit, is a great provocation. He offereth, he calls, he woos, he invites, he prays, he beseeches us in this day of his grace to be reconciled to him; yea, and has provided for us the means of reconciliation himself. Now, this despised must needs be provoking; and it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

Objection. But some man may say unto me, `Fain I would be saved, fain I would be saved by Christ; but I fear this day of grace is past, and that I shall perish, notwithstanding the exceeding riches of the grace of God.

Answer. To this doubt I would answer several things. 1. With respect to this day. 2. With respect to thy desires. 3. With respect to thy fears.

1. With respect to this day; that is, whether it be ended with a man or no.

(1.) Art thou jogged, and shaken, and molested at the hearing of the Word? Is thy conscience awakened and convinced then, that thou art at present in a perishing state, and that thou hast need to cry to God for mercy? This is a hopeful sign that this day of grace is not past with thee. For, usually, they that are past grace, are also, in their conscience, 'past feeling,' being `seared with a hot iron' (Eph 4:18-19; 1Ti 4:1-2). Consequently, those past grace must be such as are denied the awakening fruits of the Word preached. The dead that hear, says Christ, shall live; at least wise,40 Christ has not quite done with them; the day of God's patience is not at an end with them (Joh 5:25).

40 'At least wise'; to say the least.—Ed.

(2.) Is there, in thy more retired condition, arguings, strugglings, and strivings with thy spirit to persuade thee of the vanity of what vain things thou lowest, and to win thee in thy soul to a choice of Christ Jesus and his heavenly things? Take heed and rebel not, for the day of God's grace and patience will not be past with thee till he saith, his 'Spirit shall strive no more' with thee; for then the woe comes, when he shall depart from them; and when he says to the means of grace, Let them alone (Ho 4:17; 9:12).

(3.) Art thou visited in the night seasons with dreams about thy state, and that thou art in danger of being lost? Hast thou heart- shaken apprehensions when deep sleep is upon thee, of hell, death, and judgment to come? These are signs that God has not wholly left thee, or cast thee behind his back for ever. 'For God speaketh once, yea twice, yet man perceiveth it not. In a dream, in a vision of the night, when deep sleep falleth upon men, in slumberings upon the bed; then he openeth the ears of men, and sealeth their instruction, that he may withdraw man from his purpose,' his sinful purposes, 'and hide pride from man' (Job 33:14-17). All this while God has not left the sinner, nor is come to the end of his patience towards him, but stands, at least, with the door of grace ajar in his hand, as being loath, as yet, to bolt it against him.

(4.) Art thou followed with affliction, and Bost thou hear God's angry voice in thy afflictions? Doth he send with the affliction an interpreter, to show thee thy vileness; and why, or wherefore, that hand of God is upon thee, and upon what thou hast; to wit, that it is for thy sinning against him, and that thou mightest be turned to him? If so, thy summer is not quite ended; thy harvest is not yet quite over and gone. Take heed, stand out no longer, lest he cause darkness, and lest thy feet stumble upon the dark mountains; and lest, while you look for light, he turn it into the shadow of death, and make it gross darkness (Jer 8:20; 13:277).

(5.) Art thou crossed, disappointed, and waylaid, and overthrown in all thy foolish ways and doings? This is a sign God has not quite left thee, but that he still waits upon thee to turn thee. Consider, I say, has he made a hedge and a wall to stop thee? Has he crossed thee in all thou puttest thy hand unto? Take it as a call to turn to him; for, by his thus doing, he shows he has a mind to give thee a better portion. For usually, when God gives up men, and resolves to let them alone in the broad way, he gives them rope, and lets them have their desires in all hurtful things (Ho 2:6-15; Ps 73:3-13; Ro 11:9). Therefore take heed to this also, that thou strive not against this hand of God; but betake thyself to a serious inquiry into the causes of this hand of God upon thee, and incline to think, it is because the Lord would have thee look to that, which is better than what thou wouldst satisfy thyself withal. When God had a mind to make the prodigal go home to his father, he sent a famine upon him, and denied him a bellyful of the husks which the swine did eat. And observe it, now he was in a strait, he betook him to consideration of the good that there was in his father's house; yea, he resolved to go home to his father, and his father dealt well with him; he received him with music and dancing, because he had received him safe and sound (Lu 15:14-32).

(6.) Hast thou any enticing touches of the Word of God upon thy mind? Doth, as it were, some holy word of God give a glance upon thee, cast a smile upon thee, let fall, though it be but one drop of its savour upon thy spirit; yea, though it stays but one moment with thee? 0 then the day of grace is not past! The gate of heaven is not shut! nor God's heart and bowels withdrawn from thee as yet. Take heed, therefore, and beware that thou make much of the heavenly gift, and of that good word of God of the which he has made thee taste. Beware, I say, and take heed; there may be a falling away for all this; but, I say, as yet God has not left thee, as yet he has not cast thee off (Heb 6:1-9).

2. With respect to thy desires, what are they? Wouldst thou be saved? Wouldst thou be saved with a thorough salvation? Wouldst thou be saved from guilt and filth too? Wouldst thou be the servant of thy Saviour? Art thou indeed weary of the service of thy old master the devil, sin, and the world? And have these desires put thy soul to the flight? Hast thou, through desires, betaken thyself to thy heels? Dost fly to him that is a Saviour from the wrath to come, for life? If these be thy desires, and if they be unfeigned, fear not! Thou are one of those runaways which God has commanded our Lord to receive, and not to send thee back to the devil thy master again, but to give thee a place in his house, even the place which liketh thee best. 'Thou shalt not deliver unto his master,' says he, 'the servant which is escaped from his master unto thee. He shall dwell with thee, even among you, in that place which he shall choose in one of thy gates, where it liketh him best: thou shalt not oppress him' (De 23:15-16).

This is a command to the church, consequently to the Head of the church; for all commands from God come to her through her Head. Whence I conclude, that as Israel of old was to receive the runaway servant who escaped from a heathen master to them, and should not dare to send him back to his master again; so Christ's church now, and consequently Christ himself, may not, will not, refuse that soul that has made his escape from sin, Satan, the world, and hell, unto him, but will certainly let him dwell in his house, among his saints, in that place which he shall choose, even where it liketh him best. For he says, in another place, 'And him that cometh to me, I will in no wise cast out.' In no wise, let his crimes be what they will, either for nature, multitude, or the attendance of aggravating circumstances. Wherefore, if thy desires be firm, sound, and unfeigned to become the saved of Christ, and his servant, fear not, he will not, he will in no wise put thee away, or turn thee over to thy old master again.

3. As to thy fears, whatever they are, let that be supposed which is supposed before, and they are groundless, and so of no weight.

Objection. But I am afraid I am not [of the] elect, or chosen to salvation, though you called me fool a little before for so fearing.

Answer. Though election is, in order, before calling, as to God, yet the knowledge of calling must go before the belief of my election, as to myself. Wherefore, souls that doubt of the truth of their effectual calling, do but plunge themselves into a deeper labyrinth of confusion that concern themselves with their election; I mean, while they labour to know it before they prove their calling. 'Make your calling, and so your election sure' (2Pe 1:4-10).

Wherefore, at present, lay the thoughts of thy election by, and ask thyself these questions: Do I see my lost condition? Do I see salvation is nowhere but in Christ? Would I share in this salvation by faith in him? And would I, as was said before, be thoroughly saved, to wit, from the filth as from the guilt? Do I love Christ, his Father, his saints, his words, and ways? This is the way to prove we are elect. Wherefore, sinner, when Satan, or thine own heart, seeks to puzzle thee with election, say thou, I cannot attend to talk of this point now, but stay till I know that I am called of God to the fellowship of his Son, and then I will show you that I am elect, and that my name is written in the book of life.

If poor distressed souls would observe this order, they might save themselves the trouble of an unprofitable labour under these unseasonable and soul-sinking doubts.41

41 This is the proper test for a perplexed soul, when troubled about his election. If I love Christ, and am desirous to obey him, it is because he first loved me; and this is the surest proof of election. Hear the voice of God, 'Whosoever believeth in me shall not perish, but have eternal life'; and so Paul, 'As many as were ordained to eternal life believed' (Ac 13:48).—Ed.

Let us, therefore, upon the sight of our wretchedness, fly and venturously leap into the arms of Christ, which are now as open to receive us into his bosom as they were when nailed to the cross. This is coming to Christ for life aright; this is right running away from thy [old] master to him, as was said before. And for this we have multitudes of Scriptures to support, encourage, and comfort us in our so doing.

But now, let him that Both thus be sure to look for it, for Satan will be with him tomorrow, to see if he can get him again to his old service; and if he cannot do that, then will he enter into dispute with him, to wit, about whether he be elect to life, and called indeed to partake of this Christ, to whom he is fled for succour, or whether he comes to him of his own presumptuous mind. Therefore we are bid, as to come, so to arm ourselves with that armour which God has provided; that we may resist, quench, stand against, and withstand all the fiery darts of the devil (Eph 6:11-18). If, therefore, thou findest Satan in this order to march against thee, remember that thou hadst this item about it; and betake thyself to faith and good courage, and be sober, and hope to the end.

Objection. But how if I should have sinned the sin unpardonable, or that called the sin against the Holy Ghost?

Answer. If thou hast, thou art lost for ever; but yet before it is concluded by thee that thou hast so sinned, know that they that would be saved by Jesus Christ, through faith in his blood, cannot be counted for such.

1. Because of the promise, for that must not be frustrate: and that says, 'And him that cometh to Christ, he will in no wise cast out.' And again, Whoso will, let him take of the water of life freely' (Joh 6:37; Re 21:6; 22:17).

But, I say, how can these Scriptures be fulfilled, if he that would indeed be saved, as before said, has sinned the sin unpardonable? The Scripture must not be made void, nor their truth be cast to the ground. Here is a promise, and here is a sinner; a promise that says he shall not be cast out that comes; and the sinner comes, wherefore he must be received: consequently, he that comes to Christ for life, has not, cannot have sinned that sin for which there is no forgiveness. And this might suffice for an answer to any coming soul, that fears, though he comes, that he has sinned the sin against the Holy Ghost.

2. But, again, he that has sinned the sin against the Holy Ghost cannot come, has no heart to come, can by no means be made willing to come to Jesus Christ for life; for that he has received such an opinion of him, and of his things, as deters and holds him back.

(1.) He counteth this blessed person, this Son of God, a magician, a conjuror, a witch, or one that did, when he was in the world, what he did, by the power and spirit of the devil (Mt 9:34; 12:24-25,&c.; Mr 3:22-30). Now he that has this opinion of this Jesus, cannot be willing to cast himself at his feet for life, or to come to him as the only way to God and to salvation. And hence it is said again, that such an one puts him to open shame, and treadeth him under foot; that is, by contemning, reproaching, vilifying, and despising of him, as if he were the vilest one, or the greatest cheat in the world; and has, therefore, as to his esteem of him, called him accursed, crucified him to himself, or counted him one hanged, as one of the worst of malefactors (Heb 6:6; 10:29; 1Co 12:3).

(2.) His blood, which is the meritorious cause of man's redemption, even the blood of the everlasting covenant, he counteth 'an unholy thing,' or that which has no more virtue in it to save a soul from sin than has the blood of a dog (Heb 10:29).42 For when the apostle says, 'he counts it an unholy thing,' he means, he makes it of less value than that of a sheep or cow, which were clean according to the law; and, therefore, must mean, that his blood was of no more worth to him, in his account, than was the blood of a dog, an ass, or a swine, which always was, as to sacrifices, rejected by the God of heaven, as unholy or unclean. Now he who has no better esteem of Jesus Christ, and of his death and blood, will not be persuaded to come to him for life, or to trust in him for salvation.

42 How very forcible is this appeal to those who profess to believe the inspiration of the Bible, but yet reject the atonement of Christ. It is to make the typical sacrifice of the clean beasts, under the law, of greater value than that of the great antitype—the Son of God.—Ed.

(3.) But further, all this must be done against manifest tokens to prove the contrary, or after the shining of gospel light upon the soul, or some considerable profession of him as the Messiah, or that he was the Saviour of the world.

(a.) It must be done against manifest tokens to prove the contrary; and thus the reprobate Jews committed it when they saw the works of God, which put forth themselves in him, and called them the works of the devil and Beelzebub.

(b.) It must be done against some shining light of the gospel upon them. And thus it was with Judas, and with those who, after they were enlightened, and had tasted, and had felt something of the powers of the world to come, fell away from the faith of him, and put him to open shame and disgrace (Heb 6:5-6).

(c.) It must also be done after, and in opposition to one's own open profession of him. For if, after they have escaped the pollution of the world, through the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning; for it had been better for them not to have know the way of righteousness, than after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment, which is the word of faith delivered unto them.

(d.) All this must be done openly, before witnesses, in the face, sight, and view of the world, by word and act. This is the sin that is unpardonable; and he that hath thus done, can never, it is impossible he ever should, be renewed again to repentance, and that for a double reason; first, such an one Both say, he will not; and [second] of him God says, he shall not have the benefit of salvation by him.

Objection. But if this be the sin unpardonable, why is it called the sin against the Holy Ghost, and not rather the sin against the Son of God?

Answer. It is called 'the sin against the Holy Ghost,' because such count the works he did, which were done by the Spirit of God, the works of the spirit of the devil. Also because all such as so reject Christ Jesus the Lord, they do it in despite of that testimony which the Holy Ghost has given of him in the holy Scriptures; for the Scriptures are the breathings of the Holy Ghost, as in all other things, so in that testimony they bear of the person, of the works, sufferings, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus Christ.

Sinner, this is the sin against the Holy Ghost. What sayest thou? Hast thou committed it? Nay, I know thou hast not, if thou wouldst be saved by Christ. Yea, it is impossible that thou shouldst have done it, if indeed thou wouldst be saved by him. No man can desire to be saved by him, who he yet judgeth to be an impostor, a magician, a witch. No man can hope for redemption by that blood which he yet counteth an unholy thing. Nor will God ever suffer such an one to repent, who has, after light and profession of him, thus horribly, and devil-like, contemned and trampled upon him.

True, words, and wars, and blasphemies, against this Son of man, are pardonable; but then they must be done 'ignorantly, and in unbelief.' Also, all blasphemous thoughts are likewise such as may be passed by, if the soul afflicted with them, indeed is sorry for them (1Ti 1:13-15; Mr 3:28).

All but this, sinner, all but this! If God had said, he will forgive one sin, it had been undeserved grace; but when he says he will pardon all but one, this is grace to the height. Nor is that one unpardonable otherwise, but because the Saviour that should save them is rejected and put away. Jacob's ladder; Christ is Jacob's ladder that reacheth up to heaven; and he that refuseth to go by this ladder thither, will scarce by other means get up so high. There is none other name given under heaven, among men, whereby we must be saved. There is none other sacrifice for sin than this; he also, and he only, is the Mediator that reconcileth men to God. And, sinner, if thou wouldst be saved by him, his benefits are thine; yea, though thou art a great and Jerusalem transgressor.43

43 The reason why those who are guilty of the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost are never forgiven, is not for want of any sufficiency in the blood of Christ, or in the pardoning mercy of God, but because they never repent of that sin, and never seek to God for mercy through Christ, but continue obstinate till death.—Mason.

002.0 The Greatness of the Soul







London: Printed for Benjamin Alsop, at the Angel and Bible in the Poultry, 1682

Faithfully reprinted from the Author's First Edition. ADVERTISEMENT BY THE EDITOR.

Our curiosity is naturally excited to discover what a poor, unlettered mechanic, whose book-learning had been limited to the contents of one volume, could by possibility know upon a subject so abstruse, so profound, and so highly metaphysical, as that of the Soul—its greatness—and the inconceivableness of its loss. Heathen philosophers, at the head of whose formidable array stand Plato and Aristotle, had exhausted their wit, and had not made the world a whit the wiser by all their lucubrations. The fathers plunged into the subject, and increased the confusion; we are confounded with their subtle distinctions, definitions, and inquiries; such as that attributed to St. Aquinas, How many disembodied spirits could dance upon the point of a fine needle without jostling each other? Learned divines had puzzled themselves and their hearers with suppositions and abstract principles. What, then, could a travelling brasier, or tinker, have discovered to excite the attention of the Christian world, and to become a teacher to philosophers, fathers, and learned divines? Bunyan found no access to the polluted streams of a vain philosophy; he went at once to the fountain-head; and, in the pure light of Revelation, displays the human soul—infinitely great in value, although in a fallen state. He portrays it as drawn by the unerring hand of its Maker. He sets forth, by the glass of God's Word, the inconceivableness of its value, while progressing through time; and, aided by the same wondrous glass, he penetrates the eternal world, unveils the joys of heaven and the torments of hell—so far as they are revealed by the Holy Ghost, and are conceivable to human powers. While he thus leads us to some kind of estimate of its worth, he, from the same source—the only source from whence such knowledge can be derived, makes known the causes of the loss of the soul, and leads his trembling readers to the only name under heaven given among men, whereby they can be saved. In attempting to conceive the greatness and value of the soul, the importance of the body is too often overlooked. The body, it is true, is of the earth; the soul is the breath of God. The body is the habitation; the soul is the inhabitant. The body returns to the dust; while the soul enters into the intermediate state, waiting to be re-united to the body after its new creation, when death shall be swallowed up of life. In these views, the soul appears to be vastly superior to the body. But let it never be forgotten, that, as in this life, so it will be in the everlasting state; the body and soul are so intimately connected as to become one being, capable of exquisite happiness, or existing in the pangs of everlasting death.

He who felt and wrote as Bunyan does in this solemn treatise, and whose tongue was as the pen of a ready writer, must have been wise and successful in winning souls to Christ. He felt their infinite value, he knew their strong and their weak points, their riches and poverty. He was intimate with every street and lane in the town of Man-soul, and how and where the subtle Diabolians shifted about to hide themselves in the walls, and holes, and corners. He sounds the alarm, and plants his engines against 'the eye as the window, and the ear as the door, for the soul to look out at, and to receive in by.' He detects the wicked in speaking with his feet, and teaching with his fingers. His illustration of the punishment of a sinner, as set forth by the sufferings of the Saviour, is peculiarly striking. The attempt to describe the torments of those who suffer under the awful curse, 'Go ye wicked,' is awfully and intensely vivid.

Bunyan most earnestly exhorts the distressed sinner to go direct to the great Shepherd and Bishop of souls, and not to place confidence in those who pretend to be his ministers; but 'who are false shepherds, in so many ugly guises, and under so many false and scandalous dresses;' `take heed of that shepherd that careth not for his own soul, that walketh in ways, and Both such things, as have a direct tendency to damn his own soul; come not near him. He that feeds his own soul with ashes, will scarce feed thee with the bread of life.' Choose Christ to be thy chief Shepherd, sit at his feet, and learn of him and he will direct thee to such as shall feed thy soul with knowledge and understanding.

Reader, let me no longer keep thee upon the threshold but enter upon this important treatise with earnest prayer; and may the blessed Spirit enable us to live under a sense of the greatness of the soul, the unspeakableness of the loss thereof, the causes of losing it, and the only way in which its salvation can he found.

Hackney, April 1850

002.1 The Greatness of the Soul




I HAVE chosen at this time to handle these words among you, and that for several reasons:—l. Because the soul, and the salvation of it, are such great, such wonderful great things; nothing is a matter of that concern as is, and should be, the soul of each one of you. House and land, trades and honours, places and preferments, what are they to salvation? to the salvation of the soul? 2. Because I perceive that this so great a thing, and about which persons should be so much concerned, is neglected to amazement, and that by the most of men; yea, who is there of the many thousands that sit daily under the sound of the gospel that are concerned, heartily concerned, about the salvation of their souls?—that is, concerned, I say, as the nature of the thing requireth. If ever a lamentation was fit to be taken up in this age about, for, or concerning anything, it is about, for, and concerning the horrid neglect that everywhere puts forth itself with reference to salvation. Where is one man in a thousand—yea, where is there two of ten thousand that do show by their conversation, public and private, that the soul, their own souls, are considered by them, and that they are taking that care for the salvation of them as becomes them—to wit, as the weight of the work, and the nature of salvation requireth? 3. I have therefore pitched upon this text at this time; to see, if peradventure the discourse which God shall help me to make upon it, will awaken you, rouse you off your beds of ease, security, and pleasure, and fetch you down upon your knees before Him, to beg of Him grace to be concerned about the salvation of your souls. And then, in the last place, I have taken upon me to do this, that I may deliver, if not you, yet myself, and that I may be clear of your blood, and stand quit, as to you, before God, when you shall, for neglect, be damned, and wail to consider that you have lost your souls. 'When I say,' saith God, 'unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; and thou,' the prophet or preacher, `givest him not warning, nor speakest to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life; the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand. Yet if thou warn the wicked, and he turn not front his wickedness, nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul' (Eze 3:18-19).

`Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?'

In my handling of these words, I shall first speak to the occasion of them, and then to the words themselves.

The occasion of the words was, for that the people that now were auditors to the Lord Jesus, and that followed him, did it without that consideration as becomes so great a work—that is, the generality of them that followed Him were not for considering first with themselves, what it was to profess Christ, and what that profession might cost them.

`And when he had called the people unto him,' the great multitude that went with him (Lu 14:25) 'with his disciples also, he said unto them, 'Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me (Mr 8:34). Let him first sit down and count up the cost, and the charge he is like to be at, if he follows me. For following of me is not like following of some other masters. The wind sits always on my face, and the foaming rage of the sea of this world, and the proud and lofty waves thereof, do continually beat upon the sides of the bark of the ship that myself, my cause, and my followers are in; he therefore that will not run hazards, and that is afraid to venture a drowning, let him not set foot into this vessel. So whosever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, he cannot be my disciple. For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it (Lu 14:27-29).

True, to reason, this kind of language tends to cast water upon weak and beginning desires, but to faith, it makes the things set before us, and the greatness, and the glory of them, more apparently excellent and desirable. Reason will say, Then who will profess Christ that hath such coarse entertainment at the beginning? but faith will say, Then surely the things that are at the end of a Christian's race in this world must needs be unspeakably glorious; since whoever hath had but the knowledge and due consideration of them, have not stuck to run hazards, hazards of every kind, that they might embrace and enjoy them. Yea, saith faith, it must needs be so, since the Son himself, that best knew what they were, even, 'for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God' (Heb 12:2).

But, I say, there is not in every man this knowledge of things and so by consequence not such consideration as can make the cross and self-denial acceptable to them for the sake of Christ, and of the things that are where He now sitteth at the right hand of God (Col 3:2-4). Therefore our Lord Jesus doth even at the beginning give to His followers this instruction. And lest any of them should take distaste at His saying, He presenteth them with the consideration of three things together—namely, the cross, the loss of life, and the soul; and then reasoneth with them from the same, saying, Here is the cross, the life, and the soul. 1. The cross, and that you must take up, if you will follow Me. 2. The life, and that you may save for a time, if you cast Me off. 3. And the soul, which will everlastingly perish if you come not to Me, and abide not with Me. Now consider what is best to be done. Will you take up the cross, come after Me, and so preserve your souls from perishing? or will you shun the cross to save your lives, and so run the danger of eternal damnation? Or, as you have it in John, will you love your life till you lose it? or will you hate your life, and save it? 'He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal' (Joh 12:25). As who should say, He that loveth a temporal life, he that so loveth it, as to shun the profession of Christ to save it, shall lose it upon a worse account, than if he had lost it for Christ and the gospel; but he that will set light by it, for the love that he hath to Christ, shall keep it unto life eternal.

Christ having thus discoursed with His followers about their denying of themselves, their taking up their cross and following of Him, doth, in the next place, put the question to them, and so leaveth it upon them for ever, saying, 'For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?' (Mr 8:36). As who should say, I have bid you take heed that you do not lightly, and without due consideration, enter into a profession of Me and of My gospel; for he that without due consideration shall begin to profess Christ, will also without it forsake Him, turn from Him, and cast Him behind his back; and since I have even at the beginning, laid the consideration of the cross before you, it is because you should not be surprised and overtaken by it unawares, and because you should know that to draw back from Me after you have laid your hand to My plough, will make you unfit for the kingdom of heaven (Lu 9:62).

Now, since this is so, there is no less lies at stake than salvation, and salvation is worth all the world, yea, worth ten thousand worlds, if there should be so many. And since this is so also, it will be your wisdom to begin to profess the gospel with expectation of the cross and tribulation, for to that are my gospellers1 in this world appointed (Jas 1:12; 1Th 3:3). And if you begin thus, and hold it, the kingdom and crown shall be yours; for as God counteth it a righteous thing to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you, so to you who are troubled and endure it (for 'we count them happy,' says James, 'that endure,' (Jas 5:11), rest with saints, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire, to take vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel, etc. (2Th 1:7-8). And if no less lies at stake than salvation, then is a man's soul and his all at the stake; and if it be so, what will it profit a man if, by forsaking of Me, he should get the whole world? 'For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?'

1 `Gospellers,' a term of reproach given to our reformers under Henry VIII; changed to 'Puritan' under Elizabeth and the Stuarts; and to 'Methodist,' or 'Evangelical' in more recent times. All these terms were adopted by the reformers as an honorable distinction from the openly profane.—Ed.

Having thus laid the soul in one balance, and the world in the other, and affirmed that the soul out-bids the whole world, and is incomparably for value and worth beyond it; in the next place, he descends to a second question, which is that I have chosen at this time for my text, saying, 'Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?'

In these words, we have first a supposition, and such an one as standeth upon a double bottom. The supposition is this—That the soul is capable of being lost; or thus—'Tis possible for a man to lose his soul. The double bottom that this supposition is grounded upon is, first, a man's ignorance of the worth of his soul, and of the danger that it is in; and the second is, for that men commonly do set a higher price upon present ease and enjoyments than they do upon eternal salvation. The last of these doth naturally follow upon the first; for if men be ignorant of the value and worth of their souls, as by Christ in the verse before is implied, what should hinder but that men should set a higher esteem upon that with which their carnal desires are taken, than upon that about which they are not concerned, and of which they know not the worth.

But again, as this by the text is clearly supposed, so to here is also something implied; namely, that it is impossible to possess some men with the worth of their souls until they are utterly and everlastingly lost. 'What shall a man give in exchange for his soul?' That is, men when their souls are lost, and shut down under the hatches in the pits and hells in endless perdition and destruction, then they will see the worth of their souls, then they will consider what they have lost, and truly not till then. This is plain, not only to sense, but by the natural scope of the words, 'What shall a man give in exchange for his soul?' Or what would not those that are now for sin, made to see themselves lost, by the light of hell fire—for some will never be convinced that they are lost till, with rich Dives, they see it in the light of hell flames (Lu 16:22-23). I say, what would not such, if they had it, give in exchange for their immortal souls, or to recover them again from that place and torment?2

2 Having the most solemn warnings mercifully given to us by God, whose word is truth itself, how strange it is, nay, how insane, to neglect the Saviour. Our author, in his 'Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners,' gives a solemn account of his own distracted feelings, when he, by Divine warnings, contemplated the probable loss of his never-dying soul; and, believing in the truth of God's revealed will, he felt, with inexpressible horror, his dangerous state. He describes his mental anguish, by comparing it with the acute bodily sufferings of a criminal broken on the wheel. Can we wonder that he was in `downright earnest' in seeking salvation. Oh! reader, may we be thus impelled to fly from the wrath to come.—Ed.

I shall observe two truths in the words.

The first is, That the loss of the soul is the highest, the greatest loss—a loss that can never be repaired or made up. 'What shall a man give in exchange for his soul?'—that is, to recover or redeem his lost soul to liberty?

The second truth is this, That how unconcerned and careless soever some now be, about the loss or salvation of their souls, yet the day is coming; but it will then be too late, when men will be willing, had they never so much, to give it all in exchange for their souls. For so the question implies—'What will a man give in exchange for his soul?' What would he not give? What would he not part with at that day, the day in which he will see himself damned, if he had it, in exchange for his soul?

The first observation, or truth, drawn from the words is cleared by the text, 'What shall a man give in exchange for his soul?'—that is, there is not anything, nor all the things under heaven, were they all in one man's hand, and all at his disposal, that would go in exchange for the soul, that would be of value to fetch back one lost soul, or that would certainly recover it from the confines of hell. 'The redemption of their soul is precious, and it ceaseth for ever' (Ps 49:8). And what saith the words before the text but the same—'For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?' What shall profit a man that has lost his soul? Nothing at all, though he hath by that loss gained the whole world; for all the world is not worth a soul, not worth a soul in the eye of God and judgment of the law. And it is from this consideration that good Elihu cautioneth Job to take heed, 'Because there is wrath,' saith he, ' beware lest He take thee away with His stroke: then a great ransom cannot deliver thee. Will He esteem thy riches? no, not gold, nor all the forces of strength' (Job 36:18-19). Riches and power, what is there more in the world? for money answereth all things—that is, all but soul concerns. It can neither be a price for souls while here, nor can that, with all the forces of strength, recover one out of hell fire.


So then, the first truth drawn from the words stands firm—namely,

That the loss of the soul is the highest, the greatest loss; a loss that can never be repaired or made up.

In my discourse upon this subject, I shall observe this method:—

FIRST, I shall show you what the soul is.

SECOND, I shall show you the greatness of it.

THIRD, I shall show you what it is to lose the soul.

FOURTH, I shall show you the cause for which men lose their souls; and by this time the greatness of the loss will be manifest.


FIRST, I shall show you what the soul is, both as to the various names it goes under, as also, by describing of it by its powers and properties, though in all I shall be but brief, for I intend no long discourse.3

3 Many have been the attempts to define the qualities, nature, and residence of the soul. The sinful body is the sepulchre in which it is entombed, until Christ giveth it life. The only safe guide, in such inquiries, is to follow Bunyan, and ascertain 'what saith the Lord' upon a subject so momentous and so difficult for mortal eyes to penetrate.—Ed.

[Names of the Soul.]

1. The soul is often called the heart of man, or that, in and by which things to either good or evil, have their rise; thus desires are of the heart or soul; yea, before desires, the first conception of good or evil is in the soul, the heart. The heart understands, wills, affects, reasons, judges, but these are the faculties of the soul; wherefore, heart and soul are often taken for one and the same. 'My son, give me thine heart' (Prow 23:26). 'Out of the heart proceed evil thoughts,' etc. (Mt 15:19; 1Pe 3:15; Ps 26:2).

2. The soul of man is often called the spirit of a man; because it not only giveth being, but life to all things and actions in and done by him. Hence soul and spirit are put together, as to the same notion. 'With my soul have I desired thee in the night; yea, with my spirit within me will I seek thee early' (Isa 26:9). When he saith, 'Yea, with my spirit - will I seek thee,' he explaineth not only with what kind of desires he desired God, but with what principal matter his desires were brought forth. It was with my soul, saith he; to wit, with my spirit within me. So that of Mary, 'My soul,' saith she, 'cloth magnify the Lord, and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour' (Lu 1:46-47). Not that soul and spirit are, in this place, to be taken for two superior powers in man; but the same great soul is here put under two names, or terms, to show that it was the principal part in Mary; to wit, her soul, that magnified God, even that part that could spirit and put life into her whole self to do it. Indeed, sometimes spirit is not taken so largely, but is confined to some one power or faculty of the soul, as 'the spirit of my understanding,' (Job 20:3) ' and be renewed in the spirit of your mind.' And sometime by spirit we are to understand other things; but many times by spirit we must understand the soul, and also by soul the spirit.

3. Therefore, by soul we understand the spiritual, the best, and most noble part of man, as distinct from the body, even that by which we understand, imagine, reason, and discourse. And, indeed, as I shall further show you presently, the body is but a poor, empty vessel, without this great thing called the soul. 'The body without the spirit,' or soul, 'is dead' (Jas 2:26). Or nothing but (her soul departed from her, for she died). It is, therefore, the chief and most noble part of man.

4. The soul is often called the life of man, not a life of the same stamp and nature of the brute; for the life of man—that is, of the rational creature—is, that, as he is such, wherein consisteth and abideth the understanding and conscience etc. Wherefore, then, a man dieth, or the body ceaseth to act, or live in the exercise of the thoughts, which formerly used to be in him, when the soul departeth, as I hinted even now—her soul departed from her, for she died; and, as another good man saith, 'in that very day his thoughts perish,' etc. (Ps 146:4). The first text is more emphatical; Her soul was in departing (for she died). There is the soul of a beast, a bird, etc., but the soul of a man is another thing; it is his understanding, and reason, and conscience, etc. And this soul, when it departs, he dies. Nor is this life, when gone out of the body, annihilate, as is the life of a beast; no, this, in itself, is immortal, and has yet a place and being when gone out of the body it dwelt in; yea, as quick, as lively is it in its senses, if not far more abundant, than when it was in the body; but I call it the life, because so long as that remains in the body, the body is not dead. And in this sense it is to be taken where he saith 'He that loseth his life for my sake shall find it' unto life eternal; and this is the soul that is intended in the text, and not the breath, as in some other places is meant. And this is evident, because the man has a being, a sensible being, after he has lost the soul. I mean not by the man a man in this world, nor yet in the body, or in the grave; but by man we must understand, either the soul in hell, or body and soul there, after the judgment is over. And for this the text, also, is plain, for therein we are presented with a man sensible of the damage that he has sustained by losing of his soul. 'What shall a man give in exchange for his soul?' But,

5. The whole man goeth under this denomination; man, consisting of body and soul, is yet called by that part of himself that is most chief and principal. ' Let every soul,' that is, let every man, 'be subject unto the higher powers' (Ro 13:1). 'Then sent Joseph, and called his father Jacob to him, and all his kindred, three-score and fifteen souls (Ac 7:14). By both these, and several other places, the whole man is meant, and is also so to be taken in the text; for whereas here he saith, `What shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?' It is said elsewhere, 'For what is a man advantaged if he gain the whole world, and lose himself?' (Lu 9:25) and so, consequently, or, 'What shall a man give in exchange (for himself) for his soul?' His soul when he dies, and body and soul in and after judgment.

6. The soul is called the good man's darling. `Deliver,' Lord, saith David, 'my soul from the sword; my darling from the power of the dog' (Ps 22:20). So, again, in another place, he saith, 'Lord, how long wilt thou look on? rescue my soul from their destructions, my darling from the [power of the] lions' (Ps 35:17). My darling—this sentence must not be applied universally, but only to those in whose eyes their souls, and the redemption thereof, is precious. My darling—most men do, by their actions, say of their soul, 'my drudge, my slave; nay, thou slave to the devil and sin; for what sin, what lust, what sensual and beastly lust is there in the world that some do not cause their souls to bow before and yield unto? But David, here, as you see, calls it his darling, or his choice and most excellent thing; for, indeed, the soul is a choice thing in itself, and should, were all wise, be every man's darling, or chief treasure. And that it might be so with us, therefore, our Lord Jesus hath thus expressed the worth of the soul, saying, 'What shall a man give in exchange for his soul?' But if this is true, one may see already what misery he is like to sustain that has, or shall lose his soul; he has lost his heart, his spirit, his best part, his life, his darling, himself, his whole self, and so, in every sense, his all. And now, 'what shall a man,' what would a man, but what can a man that has lost his soul, himself, and his all, 'give in exchange for his soul?' Yea, what shall the man that has sustained this loss do to recover all again, since this man, or the man put under this question, must needs be a man that is gone from hence, a man that is cast in the judgment, and one that is gone down the throat of hell?

But to pass this, and to proceed.

[Powers and Properties of the Soul.]

I come next to describe the soul unto you by such things as it is set out by in the Holy Scriptures, and they are, in general, three—First, The powers of the soul. Second, The senses, the spiritual senses of the soul. Third, The passions of the soul.

First, We will discourse of the powers, I may call them the of the soul. members of the soul; for, as the members of the body, being many, do all go to the making up of the body, so these do go to the completing of the soul.

1. There is the understanding, which may be termed the head; because in that is placed the eye of the soul; and this is that which, or by which the soul, discerning things that are presented to it, and that either by God or Satan; this is that by which a man conceiveth and apprehendeth things so deep and great that cannot, by mouth, or tongue, or pen, be expressed.

2. There is, also, belonging to the soul, the conscience, in which I may say, is placed the Seat of Judgment; for, as by the understanding things are let into the soul, so by the conscience the evil or good of such things are tried; especially when in the

3. Third place, there is the judgment, which is another part of this noble creature, has passed, by the light of the understanding, his verdict upon what is let into the sou1.4

4 The poor soul, under the irresistible constraints of conscience, bears witness against itself; sits in judgment upon, and condemns itself; and goeth, without a jailor, to conduct it, into the dread prison, where it becomes its own tormentor. 'A wounded spirit (or conscience) who can bear?'—Ed.

4. There is, also, the fancy or imagination, another part of this great thing, the soul: and a most curious thing this fancy is; it is that which presenteth to the man the idea, form, or figure of that, or any of those things, wherewith a man is either frighted or taken, pleased or displeased. And,

5. The mind, another part of the soul, is that unto which this fancy presenteth its things to be considered of; because without the mind nothing is entertained in the soul.

6. There is the memory too, another part of the soul; and that may be called the register of the soul; for it is the memory that receiveth and keepeth in remembrance what has passed, or has been done by the man, or attempted to be done unto him; and in this part of the soul, or from it, will be fed 'the worm that dieth not,' when men are cast into hell; also, from this memory will flow that peace at the day of judgment that saints shall have in their service for Christ in the world.

7. There are the affections too, which are, as I may call them, the hands and arms of the soul; for they are they that take hold of, receive, and embrace what is liked by the soul, and it is a hard thing to make the soul of a man cast from it what its affections cleave to and have embraced. Hence the affections are called for, when the apostle bids men ' seek the things above; set your affections upon them,' saith he (Col 3), or, as you have it in another place, 'Lay hold' of them; for the affections are as hands to the soul, and they by which it fasteneth upon things.

8. There is the will, which may be called the foot of the soul, because by that the soul, yea, the whole man, is carried hither and thither, or else held back and kept from moving.5

5 My Lord Will-be-will was a very eminent captain in the town of Mansoul, during the Holy War: wherefore Diabolus had a kindness for him, and coveted to have him for one of his great ones, to act and do in matters of the highest concern. Bunyan represents him as having been wounded in the leg, during the seige. ' Some of the prince's army certainly saw him limp, as he afterwards walked on the wall.'—Ed.

These are the golden things of the soul, though, in carnal men, they are every one of them made use of in the service of sin and Satan. For the unbelieving are throughout impure, as is manifest, because their 'mind and conscience (two of the masterpieces of the soul) is defiled' (Tit 1:15). For if the most potent parts of the soul are engaged in their service, what, think you, do the more inferior do? But, I say, so it is the more is the pity; nor can any help it. 'This work ceaseth for ever,' unless the great God, who is over all, and that can save souls, shall himself take upon him to sanctify the soul, and to recover it, and persuade it to fall in love with another master.

But, I say, what is man without this soul, or wherein lieth this pre-eminence over a beast? (Ec 3:19-21). Nowhere that I know of; for both, as to man's body, go to one place, only the spirit or soul of a man goes upward—to wit, to God that gave it, to be by Him disposed of with respect to things to come, as they have been, and have done in this life, But,

Of the senses of the soul

Second, I come, in the next  place, to describe the soul by its senses, its spiritual senses, for so I call them; for as the body hath senses pertaining to it, and as it can see, hear, smell, feel, and taste, so can the soul; I call, therefore, these the senses of the soul, in opposition to the senses of the body, and because the soul is the seat of all spiritual sense, where supernatural things are known and enjoyed; not that the soul of a natural man is spiritual in the apostle's sense, for so none are, but those that are born from above (1Co 3:13) nor they so always neither. But to go forward.

Of sight

1. Can the body see? hath it eyes? so hath the soul. The eyes of your understanding being enlightened' (Eph 1:18). As, then, the body can see beasts, trees, men, and all visible things, so the soul can see God, Christ, angels, heaven, devils, hell, and other things that are invisible; nor is this property only peculiar to the souls that are illuminate by the Holy Ghost, for the most carnal soul in the world shall have a time to see these things, but not to its comfort, but not to its joy , but to its endless woe and misery, it dying in that condition. Wherefore, sinner, say not thou, 'I shall not see Him; for judgment is before Him,' and He will make thee see Him (Job 35:14).

Of hearing

2. Can the body hear? hath it ears? so hath the soul (Job 4:12-13). It is the soul, not the body, that hears the language of things invisible. It is the soul that hears God when He speaks in and by His Word and Spirit; and it is the soul that hears the devil when he speaks by his illusions and temptations. True, there is such an union between the soul and the body, that ofttimes, if not always, that which is heard by the ears of the body doth influence the soul, and that which is heard by the soul doth also influence the body; but yet as to the organ of hearing, the body hath one of its own, distinct from that of the soul, and the soul can hear and regard even then, when the body doth not nor cannot; as in time of sleep, deep sleep and trances, when the body lieth by as a thing that is useless. Tor God speaketh once, yea twice, yet man, (as to his body) perceiveth it not. In a dream, in a vision of the night, when deep sleep falleth upon men, in slumberings upon the bed; then he openeth the ears of men, and sealeth their instruction,' etc. (Job 33:14-16). This must be meant of the ears of the soul, not of the body; for that at this time is said to be in deep sleep; moreover this hearing, it is a hearing of dreams, and the visions of the night. Jeremiah also tells us that he had the rare and blessed visions of God in his sleep (Jer 21:14). And so doth Daniel too, by the which they were greatly comforted and refreshed; but that could not be, was not the soul also capable of hearing. 'I heard the voice of His words,' said Daniel, 'and when I heard the voice of His words, then was I in a deep sleep on my face, and my face toward the ground' (Da 10:8-9).

Of tasting

3. As the soul can see and hear, so it can taste and relish, even as really as doth the palate belonging to the body.6

6 To the unregenerate, unsanctified soul, the language of the Saviour in Joh 6:48-58, must appear, as it did to the Jews, perfectly inexplicable—' He that eateth My flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him.' Blessed mystery! to be one with Christ, in obedience to His will, and in partaking of His inheritance. To be enabled to say, Tor me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.'—Ed.

But then the things so tasted must be that which is suited to the temper and palate of the soul. The soul's taste lieth not in, nor is exercised about meats, the meats that are for the belly. Yet the soul of a saint can taste and relish God's Word (Heb 6:5), and doth ofttimes find it sweeter than honey (Ps 19:10) nourishing as milk (1Pe 2:2), and strengthening like to strong meat (Heb 5:12-14). The soul also of sinners, and of those that are unsanctified, can taste and relish, though not the things now mentioned, yet things that agree with their fleshly minds, and with their polluted, and defiled, and vile affections. They can relish and taste that which delighteth them; yea, they can find soul-delight in an alehouse, a whorehouse, a playhouse. Ay, they find pleasure in the vilest things, in the things most offensive to God, and that are most destructive to themselves. This is evident to sense, and is proved by the daily practice of sinners. Nor is the Word barren as to this: They 'feed on ashes' (Isa 44:20). They `spend their money for that which is not bread' (Isa 55:2). Yea, they eat and suck sweetness out of sin. 'They eat up the sin of My people' as they eat bread (Ho 4:8).

Of smelling

4. As the soul can see, hear, and taste so it can smell, and brings refreshment to itself that way. Hence the church saith, 'My fingers dropped with sweet-smelling myrrh;' and again, she saith of her beloved, that `his lips dropped sweet-smelling-myrrh' (Song 5:5,13). But how came the church to understand this, but because her soul did smell that in it that was to be smelled in it, even in his word and gracious visits? The poor world, indeed, cannot smell, or savour anything of the good and fragrant scent and sweet that is in Christ; but to them that believe, 'Thy name is as ointment poured forth, therefore do the virgins love thee' (Song 1:3).

Of feeling

5. As the soul can see, taste, hear, and smell, so it hath the sense of feeling, as quick and as sensible as the body. He knows nothing that knows not this; he whose soul is 'past feeling,' has his 'conscience seared with a hot iron' (Eph 4:18-19; 1Ti 4:2). Nothing so sensible as the soul, nor feeleth so quickly the love and mercy, or the anger and wrath of God. Ask the awakened man, or the man that is under the convictions of the law, if he Both not feel? and he will quickly tell you that he faints and dies away by reason of God's hand, and His wrath that lieth upon him. Read the first eight verses of the 38th Psalm; if thou knowest nothing of what I have told thee by experience; and there thou shalt hear the complaints of one whose soul lay at present under the burden of guilt, and that cried out that without help from heaven he could by no means bear the same. They also that know what the peace of God means, and what an eternal weight there is in glory know well that the soul has the sense of feeling, as well as the senses of seeing, hearing, tasting, and smelling. But thus much for the senses of the soul.

Of the passions of the soul

 Third, I come, in the next place, to describe the soul by the passions of the soul. The passions of the soul, I reckon, are these, and such like—to wit, love, hatred, joy, fear, grief, anger, etc. And these passions of the soul are not therefore good, nor therefore evil, because they are the passions of the soul, but are made so by two things—to wit, principle and object. The principle I count that from whence they flow, and the object that upon which they are pitched. To explain myself.

Of love.

1. For that of love. This is a strong passion; the Holy Ghost saith `it is strong as death, and cruel as the grave' (Song 8:6-7). And it is then good, when it flows from faith, and pitcheth itself upon God in Christ as the object, and when it extendeth itself to all that is good, whether it be the good Word, the good work of grace, or the good men that have it, and also to their good lives. But all soul-love floweth not from this principle, neither hath these for its object. How many are there that make the object of their love the most vile of men, the most base of things, because it flows from vile affections, and from the lusts of the flesh? God and Christ, good laws and good men, and their holy lives, they cannot abide, because their love wanteth a principle that should sanctify it in its first motion, and that should steer it to a goodly object. But that is the first.

Of hatred

2. There is hatred, which I count another passion of the soul; and Of hatred. this, as the other, is good or evil, as the principle from whence it flows and the object of it are. 'Ye that love the Lord, hate evil' (Ps 97:10). Then, therefore, is this passion good, when it singleth out from the many thousand of things that are in the world that one filthy thing called sin; and when it setteth itself, the soul, and the whole man, against it, and engageth all the powers of the soul to seek and invent its ruin.7 But, alas, where shall this hatred be found? What man is there whose soul is filled with this passion, thus sanctified by the love of God, and that makes sin, which is God's enemy, the only object of its indignation? How many be there, I say, whose hatred is turned another way, because of the malignity of their minds.

7 Nothing short of a Divine influence can direct the passions of the soul to a proper use of their energies. `Godly sorrow worketh repentance - carefulness —indignation - fear - vehement desire - zeal - revenge,' (2Co 7:11). Reader, has thy spirit been thus excited against sin?—Ed.

They hate knowledge (Pr 1:22). They hate God (De 7:10; Job 21:14). They hate the righteous (2Ch 29:2; Ps 34:21; Pr 29:10). They hate God's ways (Mal 3:14; Pr 8:12). And all is, because the grace of filial fear is not the root and principle from whence their hatred flows. 'For the fear of the Lord is to hate evil:' wherefore, where this grace is wanting for a root in the soul, there it must of necessity swerve in the letting out of this passion; because the soul, where grace in wanting, is not at liberty to act simply, but is biased by the power of sin; that, while grace is absent, is present in the soul. And hence it is that this passion, which, when acted well, is a virtue, is so abused, and made to exercise its force against that for which God never ordained it, nor gave it license to act.

Of joy

3. Another passion of the soul is joy; and when the soul rejoiceth virtuously, it rejoiceth not in iniquity, 'but rejoiceth in the truth' (1Co 13:6). This joy is a very strong passion, and will carry a man through a world of difficulties; it is a passion that beareth up, that supporteth and strengtheneth a man, let the object of his joy be what it will. It is this that maketh the soul fat in goodness, if it have its object accordingly; and that which makes the soul bold in wickedness, if it indeed doth rejoice in iniquity.

Of fear.

4. Another passion of the soul is fear, natural fear; for so you must understand me of all the passions of the soul, as they are considered simply and in their own nature. And, as it is with the other passions, so it is with this; it is made good or evil in its acts, as its principle and objects are; when this passion of the soul is good, then it springs from sense of the greatness, and goodness and majesty of God; also God himself is the object of this fear'—I will forewarn you,' says Christ, `whom ye shall fear. Fear him that can destroy both body and soul in hell; yea, I say unto you, Fear him' (Mt 5:28; Lu 7:5). But in all men this passion is not regulated and governed by these principles and objects, but is abused and turned, through the policy of Satan, quite into another channel. It is made to fear men (Nu 14:9), to fear idols (2Ki 17:7,38), to fear devils and witches, yea, it is made to fear all the foolish, ridiculous, and apish fables that every old woman or atheistical fortune teller has the face to drop before the soul. But fear is another passion of the soul.

Of grief

5. Another passion of the soul is grief, and it, as those afore-named, acteth even according as it is governed. When holiness is lovely and beautiful to the soul, and when the name of Christ is more precious than life, then will the soul sit down and be afflicted, because men keep not God's law. 'I beheld the transgressors, and was grieved; because they kept not Thy word' (Ps 119:158). So Christ; He looked round about with anger, 'being grieved for the hardness of their hearts' (Mr 3:5). But it is rarely seen that this passion of the soul is thus exercised. Almost everybody has other things for the spending of the heat of this passion upon. Men are grieved that they thrive no more in the world; grieved that they have no more carnal, sensual, and worldly honour; grieved that they are suffered no more to range in the lusts and vanities of this life; but all this is because the soul is unaquainted with God, sees no beauty in holiness, but is sensual, and wrapt up in clouds and thick darkness.

Of anger

6. And lastly, There is anger, which is another passion of the soul; Of anger. and that, as the rest, is extended by the soul, according to the nature of the principle by which it is acted, and from whence it flows. And, in a word, to speak nothing of the fierceness and power of this passion, it is then cursed when it breaketh out beyond the bounds that God hath set it, the which to be sure it doth, when it shall by its fierceness or irregular motion, run the soul into sin. 'Be ye angry, and sin not' (Eph 4:26), is the limitation wherewith God hath bounded this passion; and whatever is more than this, is a giving place to the devil. And one reason, among others, why the Lord doth so strictly set this bound, and these limits to anger, is, for that it is so furious a passion, and for that it will so quickly swell up the soul with sin, as they say a toad swells with its poison. Yea, it will in a moment so transport the spirit of a man, that he shall quickly forget himself, his God, his friend, and all good rule. But my business is not now to make a comment upon the passions of the soul, only to show you that there are such, and also which they are.

And now, from this description of the soul, what follows but to put you in mind what a noble, powerful, lively, sensible thing the soul is, that by the text is supposed may be lost, through the heedlessness, or carelessness, or slavish fear of him whose soul it is; and also to stir you up to that care of, and labour after, the salvation of your soul, as becomes the weight of the matter. If the soul were a trivial thing, or if a man, though he lost it, might yet himself be happy, it were another matter; but the loss of the soul is no small loss, nor can that man that has lost his soul, had he all the world, yea, the whole kingdom of heaven, in his own power be but in a most fearful and miserable condition. But of these things more in their place.

002.2 The Greatness the Soul


SECOND, Having thus given you a description of the soul, what it is, I shall, in the next place, show you the greatness of it.

[Of the greatness of the soul, when compared with the body.]

First, And the first thing that I shall take occasion to make this manifest by, will be by showing you the disproportion that is betwixt that and the body; and I shall do it in these following particulars:—

The body a house for the soul

1. The body is called the house of the soul, a house for the soul to dwell in. Now everybody knows that the house is much inferior to him that, by God's ordinance, is appointed to dwell therein; that it is called the house of the soul, you find in Paul to the Corinthians: 'For we know,' saith he, 'that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens' (2Co 5:1). We have then, a house for our soul in this world, and this house is the body, for the apostle can mean nothing else; therefore he calls it an earthly house. 'If our earthly house'—our house. But who Both he personate if he says, This is a house for the soul; for the body is part of him that says, Our house?

In this manner of language, he personates his soul with the souls of the rest that are saved; and thus to do, is common with the apostles, as will be easily discerned by them that give attendance to reading. Our earthly houses; or, as Job saith, 'houses of clay,' for our bodies are bodies of clay: 'Your remembrances are like unto ashes, your bodies to bodies of clay' (Job 4:19; 13:12). Indeed, he after maketh mention of a house in heaven, but that is not it about which he now speaks; now he speaks of this earthly house which we have (we, our souls) to dwell in, while on this side glory, where the other house stands, as ready prepared for us when we shall flit from this to that; or in case this should sooner or later be dissolved. But that is the first; the body is compared to the house, but the soul to him that inhabiteth the house; therefore, as the man is more noble than the house he dwells in, so is the soul more noble than the body. And yet, alas! with grief be it spoken, how common is it for men to spend all their care, all their time, all their strength, all their wit and parts for the body and its honour and preferment, even as if the soul were some poor, pitiful, sorry, inconsiderable, and under thing, not worth the thinking of, or not worth the caring for. But,

The body clothing for the soul

2. The body is called the clothing and the soul that which is clothed therewith. Now, everybody knows that 'the body is more than raiment,' even carnal sense will teach us this. But read that pregnant place: 'For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened (that is, with mortal flesh); not for that we should be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life' (2Co 5:4). Thus the greatness of the soul appears in the preference that it hath to the body—the body is its raiment. We see that, above all creatures, man, because he is the most noble among all visible ones, has, for the adorning of his body, that more abundant comeliness. `Tis the body of man, not of beast, that is clothed with the richest ornaments. But now what a thing is the soul, that the body itself must be its clothing! No suit of apparel is by God thought good enough for the soul, but that which is made by God himself, and that is that curious thing, the body. But oh! how little is this considered—namely, the greatness of the soul. `Tis the body, the clothes, the suit of apparel, that our foolish fancies are taken with, not at all considering the richness and excellency of that great and more noble part, the soul, for which the body is made a mantle to wrap it up in, a garment to clothe it withal. If a man gets a rent in his clothes, it is little in comparison of a rent in his flesh; yea, he comforts himself when he looks on that rent, saying, Thanks be to God, it is not a rent in my flesh. But ah! on the contrary, how many are there in the world that are more troubled for that they have a rent, a wound, or a disease in the body, than for that they have for the souls that will be lost and cast away. A little rent in the body dejecteth and casteth such down, but they are not at all concerned, though their soul is now, and will yet further be, torn in pieces, Now consider this, ye that forget God, lest he tear you in pieces, and there be none to deliver' (Ps 50:22). But this is the second thing whereby, or by which, the greatness of the soul appears—to wit, in that the body, that excellent piece of God's workmanship, is but a garment, or clothing for the soul.

The body a vessel for the soul

3. The body is called a vessel, or a case, for the soul to be put and kept in. 'That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctifcation and honour' (1Th 4:4). The apostle here Both exhort the people to abstain from fornication, which, in another place, he saith, ` a sin against the body' (1Co 6:18). And here again he saith, 'This is the will of God, that ye should abstain from fornication:' that the body be not defiled, 'that every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour.' His vessel, his earthen vessel, as he calls it in another place—for 'we have this treasure in earthen vessels.' Thus, then, the body is called a vessel; yea, every man's body is his vessel. But what has God prepared this vessel for, and what has He put into it? Why, many things this body is to be a vessel for, but at present God has put into it that curious thing, the soul. Cabinets, that are very rich and costly things of themselves, are not made nor designed to be vessels to be stuffed or filled with trumpery, and things of no value; no, these are prepared for rings and jewels, for pearls, for rubies, and things that are choice. And if so, what shall we then think of the soul for which is prepared, and that of God, the most rich and excellent vessel in the world? Surely it must be a thing of worth, yea, of more worth than is the whole world besides. But alas! who believes this talk? Do not even the most of men so set their minds upon, and so admire, the glory of this case or vessel, that they forget once with seriousness to think, and, therefore, must of necessity be a great way off, of those suitable esteems that becomes them to have of their souls. But oh, since this vessel, this cabinet, this body, is so curiously made, and that to receive and contain, what thing is that for which God has made this vessel, and what is that soul that He hath put into it? Wherefore thus, in the third place, is the greatness of the soul made manifest, even by the excellency of the vessel, the body, that God has made to put it in.

The body a tabernacle for the soul.

4. The body is called a  tabernacle for the soul. `Knowing that shortly I must put off this my tabernacle' (2Pe 1:14), that is, my body, 'by death' (Joh 21:18-19). 'For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God,' etc. (2Co 5:1). In both these places, by 'tabernacle,' can be meant nothing but the body; wherefore both the apostles, in these sentences do personate their souls, and speak as if the soul was THE ALL of a man; yea, they plainly tell us, that the body is but the house, clothes, vessel, and tabernacle for the soul. But what a famous thing therefore is the soul!

The tabernacle of old was a place erected for worship, but the worshippers were more excellent than the place; so our body is a tabernacle for the soul to worship God in, but must needs be accounted much inferior to the soul, forasmuch as the worshippers are always of more honour than the place they worship in; as he that dwelleth in the tabernacle hath more honour than the tabernacle.8 'I serve,' says Paul, God and Christ Jesus 'with my spirit (or soul) in the gospel' (Ro 1:9), but not with his spirit out of, but in, this tabernacle. The tabernacle had instruments of worship for the worshippers; so has the body for the soul, and we are bid to 'yield our members as instruments of righteousness to God' (Ro 6:13). The hands, feet, ears, eyes, and tongue, which last is our glory when used right, are all of them instruments of this tabernacle, and to be made use of by the soul, the inhabiter of this tabernacle, for the soul's performance of the service of God. I thus discourse, to show you the greatness of the soul. And, in mine opinion, there is something, if not very much, in what I say. For all men admire the body, both for its manner of building, and the curious way of its being compacted together. Yes, the further men, wise men, do pry into the wonderful work of God that is put forth in framing the body, the more still they are made to admire; and yet, as I said, this body is but a house, a mantle, a vessel, a tabernacle for the soul. What, then, is the soul itself?9 But thus much for the first particular.

8 This is perfectly true, but is only felt by those who are taught of the Holy Spirit rightly to appreciate Divine worship. How many pay undue respect to buildings in which public prayer is offered up? It is the worship that consecrates the place and solemnizes the mind. Very remarkably was this the case with Jacob while wandering in the open wilderness. He put stones for his pillow, and in a dream saw the angels visiting the earth, and said, THIS is the house of God, and the gate of heaven.—Ed.

9 If the body, which is to return to dust, 'is fearfully and wonderfully made,' past our finding out in its exquisite formation, how much more so must be that immortal soul which we can only contemplate by its own powers, and study in the Bible. It never dies, although it may be dead in sin, in time; and be ever dying—ever in the agonies of death, in eternity. Solemn consideration! May our adorning be 'the hidden man of the heart, which is not corruptible; a meek and quiet spirit; that which is in the sight of God of great price' (1Pe 3:4).—Ed.

[Other things that show the greatness of the soul.]

Second, We will now come to other things that show us the greatness of the soul. And,

The soul is called God's breath.

1. It is called God's breath of life. 'And the Lord God formed man,' that is, the body, 'of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living soul' (Ge 2:7). Do but compare these two together, the body and the soul; the body is made of dust, the soul is the breath of God. Now, if God hath made this body so famous, as indeed He has, and yet it is made but of the dust of the ground, and we all do know what inferior matter it is, what is the soul, since the body is not only its house and garment, but since itself is made of the breath of God? But, further, it is not only said that the soul is of the breath of the Lord, but that the Lord breathed into him the breath of life—to wit, a living spirit, for so the next words infer—and 'man became a living soul.' Man, that is, the more excellent part of him, which, for that which is principal, is called man, that bearing the denomination of the whole; or man, the spirit and natural power, by which, as a reasonable creature, the whole of him is acted, 'became a living soul.' But I stand not here upon definition, but upon demonstration. The body, that noble part of man, had its original from the dust; for so says the Word, `Dust thou art (as to thy body), and unto dust shalt thou return' (Ge 3:19). But as to thy more noble part, thou art from the breath of God, God putting forth in that a mighty work of creating power, and man 'was made a living soul' (1Co 15:45). Mark my reason. There is as great a disparity betwixt the body and the soul, as is between the dust of the ground and that, here called, the breath of life of the Lord. And note further, that, as the dust of the ground did not lose, but gained glory by being formed into the body of a man, so this breath of the Lord lost nothing neither by being made a living soul. 0 man! Bost thou know what thou art?

The soul God's image.   

2. As the soul is said to be of the breath of God, so it is said to be made after God's own image, even after the similitude of God. 'And God said, Let Us make man in Our image, after Our likeness.—So God created man in His own image, in the image of God created He him' (Ge 1:26-27). Mark, in His own image, in the image of God created He him; or, as James hath it, it is 'made after the similitude of God,' (Jas 3:9); like Him, having in it that which beareth semblance with Him. I do not read of anything in heaven, or earth, or under the earth, that is said to be made after this manner, or that is at all so termed, save only the Son of God Himself. The angels are noble creatures, and for present employ are made a little higher than man himself, (Heb 2); but that any of them are said to be made 'after God's image,' after His own image, even after the similitude of God, that I find not. This character the Holy Ghost, in the Scriptures of truth, giveth only of man, of the soul of man; for it must not be thought that the body is here intended in whole or in part. For though it be said that Christ was made after the similitude of sinful flesh (Php 2), yet it is not said that sinful flesh is made after the similitude of God; but I will not dispute; I only bring these things to show how great a thing, how noble a thing the soul is; in that, at its creation, God thought it worthy to be made, not like the earth, or the heavens, or the angels, seraphims, or archangels, but like Himself, His own self, saying, 'Let Us make man in Our own likeness. So He made man in His own image.' This, I say, is a character above all angels; for, as the apostle said, `To which of the angels said He at anytime, 'Thou art my Son?' So, of which of them hath He at any time said, This is, or shall be, made in or after Mine image, Mine own image? 0 what a thing is the soul of man, that above all the creatures in heaven or earth, being made in the image and similitude of God.10

10 One of the first revelations to our race was, that `God breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living soul.' And this great and important fact has, by tradition, extended over the whole of the human family.—Ed.

The soul God's desire.

3. Another thing by which the greatness of the soul is made manifest is this, it is that—and that only, and to say this is more than to say, it is that above all the creatures—that the great God desires communion with. He 'hath set apart him that is godly for himself,' (Ps 4:3); that is, for communion with his soul; therefore the spouse saith concerning him, 'His desire is toward me,' (Song 7:10); and, therefore, he saith again, 'I will dwell in them, and walk in them' (2Co 6:16). To 'dwell in,' and 'walk in,' are terms that intimate communion and fellowship; as John saith, 'Our fellowship, truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ' (1Jo 1:3). That is, our soul-fellowship; for it must not be understood of the body, though I believe that the body is much influenced when the soul has communion with God; but it is the soul, and that only, that at present is capable of having and maintaining of this blessed communion. But, I say, what a thing is this, that God, the great God, should choose to have fellowship and communion with the soul above all. We read, indeed, of the greatness of the angels, and how near also they are unto God; but yet there are not such terms that bespeak such familiar acts between God and angels, as to demonstrate that they have such communion with God as has, or as the souls of His people may have. Where has He called them His love, His dove, His fair one? and where, when He speaketh of them, Both He express a communion that they have with Him by the similitude of conjugal love? I speak of what is revealed; the secret things belong to the Lord our God. Now by all this is manifest the greatness of the soul. Men of greatness and honour, if they have respect to their own glory, will not choose for their familiars the base and rascally crew of this world; but will single out for their fellows, fellowship, and communion, those that are most like themselves. True, the King has not an equal, yet He is for being familiar only with the nobles of the land: so God, with Him none can compare; yet since the soul is by Him singled out for His walking mate and companion, it is a sign it is the highest born, and that upon which the blessed Majesty looks, as upon that which is most meet to be singled out for communion with Himself.

Should we see a man familiar with the King, we would, even of ourselves, conclude he is one of the nobles of the land; but this is not the lot of every soul —some have fellowship with devils, yet not because they have a more base original than those that lie in God's bosom, but they, through sin, are degenerate, and have chosen to be great with His enemy—but all these things show the greatness of the soul.

The soul a vessel for grace.

4. The soul of men are such as God counts worthy to be the vessels to hold His grace, the graces of the Spirit, in. The graces of the Spirit—what like them, or where here are they to be found, save in the souls of men only? 'Of His fulness have all we received, and grace for grace' (Joh 1:16). Received, into what? into 'the hidden part,' as David calls it (Ps 51:6). Hence the king's daughter is said to be 'all glorious within,' (Ps 45:15); because adorned and beautified with the graces of the Spirit. For that which David calls the hidden part is the inmost part of the soul; and it is, therefore, called the hidden part, because the soul is invisible, nor can any one living infallibly know what is in the soul but God Himself. But, I say, the soul is the vessel into which this golden oil is poured, and that which holds, and is accounted worthy to exercise and improve the same. Therefore the soul is it which is said to love God— 'Saw ye him whom my soul loveth?' (Song 3:3); and, therefore, the soul is that which exerciseth the spirit of prayer—'With my soul have I desired thee in the night; yea, with my spirit within me will I seek thee early' (Isa 26:9). With the soul also men are said to believe and into the soul God is said to put His fear. This is the vessel into which the virgins got oil, and out of which their lamps were supplied by the same. But what a thing, what a great thing therefore is the soul, that that above all things that God hath created should be the chosen vessel to put His grace in. The body is the vessel for the soul, and the soul is the vessel for the grace of God. But,

The price of the soul.

5. The greatness of the soul is manifest by the greatness of the price that Christ paid for it, to make it an heir of glory; and that was His precious blood (1Co 6:20; 1Pe 1:18-19). We do use to esteem of things according to the price that is given for them, especially when we are convinced that the purchase has not been made by the estimation of a fool. Now the soul is purchased by a price that the Son, the wisdom of God, thought fit to pay for the redemption thereof—what a thing, then, is the soul? Judge of the soul by the price that is paid for it, and you must needs confess, unless you count the blood that hath bought it an unholy thing, that it cannot but be of great worth and value. Suppose a prince, or some great man, should, on a sudden, descend from his throne, or chair of state, to take up, that he might put in his bosom, something that he had espied lying trampled under the feet of those that stand by; would you think that he would do this for an old horse shoe,11 or for so trivial a thing as a pin or a point?12 Nay, would you not even of yourselves conclude that that thing for which the prince, so great a man, should make such a stoop, must needs be a thing of very great worth? Why, this is the case of Christ and the soul. Christ is the prince, His throne was in heaven, and, as He sat there, He espied the souls of sinners trampled under the foot of the law and death for sin. Now, what Both He, but comes down from His throne, stoops down to the earth, and there, since He could not have the trodden-down souls without price, He lays down His life and blood for them (2Co 8:9). But would He have done this for inconsiderable things? No, nor for the souls of sinners neither, had He not valued them higher than he valued heaven and earth besides.13 This, therefore, is another thing by which the greatness of the soul is known.

11 An old horse shoe' must be mentioned, to throw utter contempt upon a custom, then very prevalent, and even now practised, of nailing an old horse shoe over the door of the house, to prevent a witch from entering. When will these absurd heathenish customs cease in Christian England?—Ed.

12 'A point,' the tag at the end of a lace.—Ed.

13 Nothing can more fully display the transcendant worth and excellency of the soul, than these two considerations:—first, That by the operation of the Eternal Spirit, it is made a habitation for God Himself, and susceptible of communion and converse with God, nay, of being even filled with all the fulness of God; and, second, The infinite price that was paid for its redemption from sin and woe—the precious blood of the Son of God.—Mason.

The soul immortal.

6. The soul is immortal, it will have a sensible being for ever, none  can kill the soul (Lu 12:4; Mt 10:28). If all the angels in heaven, and all the men on earth, should lay all their strength together, they cannot kill or annihilate one soul. No, I will speak without fear, if it may be said, God cannot do what He will not do; then He cannot annihilate the soul: but, notwithstanding all His wrath, and the vengeance that He will inflict on sinful souls, they yet shall abide with sensible beings, yet to endure, yet to bear punishment. If anything could kill the soul, it would be death; but death cannot do it, neither first nor second; the first cannot, for when Dives was slain, as to his body by death, his soul was found alive in hell—'He lift up his eyes in hell, being in torment' (Lu 16:23). The second death cannot do it, because it is said their worm never dies, but is always torturing them with his gnawing (Mr 9:44). But that could not be, if time, or lying in hell fire for ever, could annihilate the soul. Now, this also shows the greatness of the soul, that it is that which has an endless life, and that will, therefore, have a being endlessly. 0 what a thing is the soul!

The soul, then, is immortal, though not eternal. That is eternal that has neither beginning nor end, and, therefore, eternal is properly applicable to none but God; hence He is called the 'eternal God' (De 33:27). Immortal is that which, though it hath a beginning, yet hath no end, it cannot die, nor cease to be; and this is the state of the soul. It cannot cease to have a being when it is once created; I mean, a living, sensible being. For I mean by living, only such a being as distinguishes it from annihilation or incapableness of sense and feeling. Hence, as the rich man is after death said to 'lift up his eyes in hell,' so the beggar is said, when he died, to be 'carried by the angels, into Abraham's bosom' (Lu 16:22-23). And both these sayings must have respect to the souls of these men; for, as for their bodies, we know at present it is otherwise with them. The grave is their house, and so must be till the trumpet shall sound, and the heavens pass away like a scroll. Now, I say, the immortality of the soul shows the greatness of it, as the eternity of God shows the greatness of God. It cannot be said of any angel but that he is immortal, and so it is, and ought to be said of the soul. This, therefore, shows the greatness of the soul, in that it is as to abiding so like unto him.

'Tis the soul that acts the body.'

7. But a word or two more,  and so to conclude this head. The soul!—why, it is the soul that acteth the body in all these things, good or bad, that seem good and reasonable, or amazingly wicked. True, the acts and motions of the soul are only seen and heard in, and by the members and motions of the body, but the body is but a poor instrument, soul is the great agitator and actor. `The body without the spirit is dead' (Jas 2:26). All those famous arts, and works, and inventions of works, that are done by men under heaven, they are all the intentions of the soul, and the body, as acting and labouring therein, Both it but as a tool that the soul maketh use of to bring his invention into maturity (Ec 7:29). How many things have men found out to the amazing of one another, to the wonderment of one another, to the begetting of endless commendations of one another in the world, while, in the meantime, the soul, which indeed is the true inventor of all, is overlooked, not regarded, but dragged up and down by every lust, and prostrate, and made a slave to every silly and beastly thing. 0 the amazing darkness that hath covered the face of the hearts of the children of men, that they cannot deliver their soul, nor say, 'Is there not a lie in my right hand?' (Isa 44:20), though they are so cunning in all other matters. Take man in matters that are abroad, and far from home, and he is the mirror of all the world; but take him at home, and put him upon things that are near him, I mean, that have respect to the things that concern his soul, and then you will find him the greatest fool that ever God made. But this must not be applied to the soul simply as it is God's creature, but to the soul sinful, as it has willingly apostatized from God, and so suffered itself to be darkened, and that with such thick and stupifying darkness, that it is bound up and cannot—it hath a napkin of sin bound so close before its eyes that it is not able—of itself—to look to, and after those things which should be its chiefest concern, and without which it will be most miserable for ever.

The soul capable of having to do with invisibles.   

8. Further, as the soul is thus curious about arts and sciences, and about every excellent thing of this life, so it is capable of having to do with invisibles, with angels, good or bad, yea, with the highest and Supreme Being, even with the holy God of heaven. I told you before that God sought the soul of man to have it for His companion; and now I tell you that the soul is capable of communion with Him, when the darkness that sin hath spread over its face is removed. The soul is an intelligent power, it can be made to know and understand depths, and heights, and lengths, and breadths, in those high, sublime, and spiritual mysteries that only God can reveal and teach; yea, it is capable of diving unutterably into them. And herein is God, the God of glory, much delighted and pleased—to wit, that He hath made Himself a creature that is capable of hearing, of knowing, and of understanding of His mind, when opened and revealed to it. I think I may say, without offence to God or man, that one reason why God made the world was, that He might manifest Himself, not only by, but to the works which He made; but, I speak with reverence, how could that be, if He did not also make some of His creatures capable of apprehending of Him in those most high mysteries and methods in which He purposed to reveal Himself? But then, what are those creatures which He hath made (unto whom when these things are shown) that are able to take them in and understand them, and so to improve them to God's glory, as He hath ordained and purposed they should, but souls? for none else in the visible world are capable of doing this but they. And hence it is that to them, and them only, He beginneth to reveal Himself in this world. And hence it is that they, and they only, are gathered up to Him where He is, for they are they that are called 'the spirits of just men made perfect,' (Heb 12:23); the spirit of a beast goeth downward to the earth, it is the spirit of a man that goes upwards to God that gave it (Ec 3:21; 12:7). For that, and that only, is capable of beholding and understanding the glorious visions of heaven; as Christ said, `Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given Me, be with Me where I am; that they may behold My glory, which thou hast given Me; for thou lovedst Me before the foundation of the world' (Joh 17:24). And thus the greatness of the soul is manifest. True, the body is also gathered up into glory, but not simply for its own sake, or because that is capable of itself to know and understand the glories of its Maker; but that has been a companion with the soul in this world, has also been its house, its mantle, its cabinet and tabernacle here; it has also been it by which the soul hath acted, in which it hath wrought, and by which its excellent appearances have been manifested; and it shall also there be its co-partner and sharer in its glory. Wherefore, as the body here did partake of soul excellencies, and was also conformed to its spiritual and regenerate principles; so it shall be hereafter a partaker of that glory with which the soul shall be filled, and also be made suitable by that glory to become a partaker and co-partner with it of the eternal excellencies which heaven will put upon it. In this world it is a gracious soul (I speak now of the regenerate), and in that world it shall be a glorious one. In this world the body was conformable to the soul as it was gracious, and in that world it shall be conformable to it as it is glorious; conformable, I say, by partaking of that glory that then the soul shall partake of; yea, it shall also have an additional glory to adorn, and make it yet the more capable of being serviceable to it, and with it in its great acts before God in eternal glory. Oh, what great things are the souls of the sons of men!

The soul capable of diving into the depths and mysteries of hell.

9. But again, as the soul is thus capable of enjoying God in glory, and of prying into these mysteries that are in him, so it is capable, with great profundity, to dive into the mysterious depths of hell. Hell is a place and state utterly unknown to any in this visible world, excepting the souls of men; nor shall any for ever be capable of understanding the miseries thereof, save souls and fallen angels. Now, I think, as the joys of heaven stand not only in speculation, or in beholding of glory, but in a sensible enjoyment and unspeakable pleasure which those glories will yield to the soul (Ps 16:11), so the torments of hell will not stand in the present lashes and strokes which by the flames of eternal fire God will scourge the ungodly with; but the torments of hell stand much, if not in the greatest part of them, in those deep thoughts and apprehensions, which souls in the next world will have of the nature and occasions of sin; of God, and of separation from Him; of the eternity of those miseries, and of the utter impossibility of their help, ease, or deliverance for ever. 0! damned souls will have thoughts that will clash with glory, clash with justice, clash with law, clash with itself, clash with hell, and with the everlastingness of misery; but the point, the edge, and the poison of all these thoughts will still be galling, and dropping, and spewing out their stings into the sore, grieved, wounded, and fretted place, which is the conscience, though not the conscience only; for I may say of the souls in hell, that they all over are but one wound, one sore! Miseries as well as mercies sharpen and make quick the apprehensions of the soul. Behold Spira in his book,14 Cain in his guilt, and Saul with the witch of Endor, and you shall see men ripened, men enlarged and greatened in their fancies, imaginations, and apprehensions though not about God, and heaven, and glory, yet about their loss, their misery, and their woe, and their hells (Isa 33:14; Ps 1:4; Re 14:10; Mr 9:44,46).

14 `A Relation of the Fearful Estate of Frances Spira.' He had been a Protestant, but, for some unworthy motives, became a Papist, and was visited with the most awful compunctions of conscience. A poetical introduction thus describes the guilty wretch:—

`Reader, wou'dst see what, may you never feel,
Despair, racks, torments, whips of burning steel?
Behold this man, this furnace, in whose heart,
Sin hath created hell. Oh! In each part
What flames appear;
His thoughts all stings; words swords;
Brimstone his breath;
His eyes flames; wishes curses; life a death;
A thousand deaths live in him, he not dead;
A breathing corpse, in living scalding lead.'

It is an awful account, and has added to it a narrative of the wretched end of John Child, a Bedford man, one of Bunyan's friends, who, to avoid prosecution, conformed; was visited with black despair, and hung himself. A copy of this curious little book is in the editor's possession.—Ed.

The ability of the soul to bear.

10. Nor doth their ability to bear, if it be proper to say they bear those dolors which there for ever they shall endure, a little demonstrate their greatness. Everlasting burning, devouring fire, perpetual pains, gnawing worms, utter darkness, and the ireful souls, face, and strokes of Divine and infinite justice will not, cannot, make this soul extinct, as I said before. I think it is not so proper to say the soul that is damned for sin doth bear these things, as to say it doth ever sink under them: and, therefore, their place of torment is called the bottomless pit, because they are ever sinking, and shall never come there where they will find any stay. Yet they live under wrath, but yet only so as to be sensible of it, as to smart and be in perpetual anguish, by reason of the intolerableness of their burden. But doth not their thus living, abiding, and retaining a being(or what you will call it), demonstrate the greatness and might of the soul? Alas! heaven and earth are short of this greatness, for these, though under less judgment by far, do fade and wax old like a moth-eaten garment, and, in their time, will vanish away to nothing (Heb 1).

Also, we see how quickly the body, when the soul is under a fear of the rebukes of justice, how soon, I say, it wastes, moulders away, and crumbleth into the grave; but the soul is yet strong, and abides sensible to be dealt withal for sin by everlasting burnings.

The might of the soul further shown.

11. The soul, by God's ordinance, while this world lasts, has a time appointed it to forsake and leave the body to be turned again to the dust as it was, and this separation is made by death, (Heb 9:27); therefore the body must cease for a time to have sense, or life, or motion; and a little thing brings it now into this state; but in the next world, the wicked shall partake of none of this; for the body and the soul being at the resurrection rejoined, this death, that once did rend them asunder, is for ever overcome and extinct; so that these two which lived in sin must for ever be yoked together in hell. Now, there the soul being joined to the body, and death, which before did separate them, being utterly taken away, the soul retains not only its own being, but also continueth the body to be, and to suffer sensibly the pains of hell, without those decays that it used to sustain.

And the reason why this death shall then be taken away is, because justice in its bestowing its rewards for transgressions may not be interrupted, but that body and soul, as they lived and acted in sin together, might be destroyed for sin in hell together (Mt 10:28; Lu 12:5). Destroyed, I say, but with such a destruction, which, though it is everlasting, will not put a period to their sensible suffering the vengeance of eternal fire (2Th 1:8-9).

This death, therefore, though that also be the wages of sin, would now, were it suffered to continue, be a hinderance to the making known of the wrath of God, and also of the created power and might of the soul. (1.) It would hinder the making known of the wrath of God, for it would take the body out of the way, and make it incapable of sensible suffering for sin, and so removing one of the objects of vengeance the power of God's wrath would be so far undiscovered. (2.) It would also hinder the manifestation of the power and might of the soul, which is discovered much by its abiding to retain its own being while the wrath of God is grappling with it, and more by its continuing to the body a sensible being with itself.

Death, therefore, must now be removed, that the soul may be made the object of wrath without molestation or interruption. That the soul, did I say? yea, that soul and body both might be so. Death would now be a favour, though once the fruit of sin, and also the wages thereof, might it now be suffered to continue, because it would ease the soul of some of its burden: for a tormented body cannot but be a burden to a spirit, and so the wise man insinuates when he says, 'The spirit of a man will sustain his infirmity;' that is, bear up under it, but yet so as that it feels it a burden. We see that, because of the sympathy that is between body and soul, how one is burdened if the other be grieved. A sick body is a burden to the soul, and a wounded spirit is a burden to the body; 'a wounded spirit who can bear?' (Prow 18:14). But death must not remove this burden, but the soul must have the body for a burden, and the body must have the soul for a burden, and both must have the wrath of God for a burden. Oh, therefore, here will be burden upon burden, and all upon the soul, for the soul will be the chief seat of this burden! But thus much to show you the greatness of the soul.


THIRD, I shall now come to the third thing which was propounded to be spoken to; and that is, to show you what we are to understand by losing of the soul, or what the loss of the soul is— 'What shall a man give in exchange for his soul?'

[He that loseth his soul loseth himself.]

First, The loss of the soul is a loss, in the nature of it, peculiar to itself. There is no such loss, as to the nature of loss, as is the loss of the soul; for that he that hath lost his soul has lost himself. In all other losses, it is possible for a man to save himself, but he that loseth his soul, loseth himself—'For what is a man advantaged, if he gain the whole world, and lose himself?' (Lu 9:25). Wherefore, the loss of the soul is a loss that cannot be paralleled. He that loseth himself, loseth his all, his lasting all; for himself is his all—his all in the most comprehensive sense. What mattereth it what a man gets, if by the getting thereof he loseth himself? Suppose a man goeth to the Indies for gold, and he loadeth his ship therewith; but at his return, that sea that carried him thither swallows him up—now, what has he got? But this is but a lean similitude with reference to the matter in hand—to wit, to set forth the loss of the soul. Suppose a man that has been at the Indies for gold should, at his return, himself be taken by them of Algiers, and there made a slave of, and there be hunger-bit, and beaten till his bones are broken,15 what has he got? what is he advantaged by his rich adventure? Perhaps, you will say, he has got gold enough to obtain his ransom. Indeed this may be; and therefore no similitude can be found that can fully amplify the matter, 'for what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?' Tis a loss that standeth by itself, there is not another like it, or unto which it may be compared. `Tis only like itself—'tis singular, `tis the chief of all losses— the highest, the greatest loss. 'For what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?' A man may lose his wife, his children, his estate, his liberty, and his life, and have all made up again, and have all restored with advantage, and may, therefore, notwithstanding all these losses, be far enough off from losing of himself. (Lu 14:26; Mr 8:35). For he may lose his life, and save it; yea, sometimes the only way to save that, is to lose it; but when a man has lost himself, his soul, then all is gone to all intents and purposes. There is no word says, 'he that loses his soul shall save it;' but contrariwise, the text supposeth that a man has lost his soul, and then demands if any can answer it—'What shall a man give in exchange for his soul?' All, then, that he gains that loseth his soul is only this, he has gained a loss, he has purchased the loss of losses, he has nothing left him now but his loss, but the loss of himself, of his whole self. He that loseth his life for Christ, shall save it; but he that loseth himself for sin, and for the world, shall lose himself to perfection of loss; he has lost himself, and there is the full point.  

15 Nothing more properly excited horror throughout Christendom, than the conduct of the Algerines in making slaves of their captives; because their victims had white skins, and were called Christians. Hundreds of thousands of pounds sterling were paid to redeem the Christian captives, and thus the pirates were strengthened to continue their ferocious deeds. Many contributed to those funds the very money which they derived from the negro slave trade; who, while they professed to execrate white man slavery, perpetrated the same barbarities upon their brethren of a different colour and caste. How strangely does sin pervert the understandings of men, who arrogate to themselves the highest grade of humanity and civilization!—Ed.

There are several things fall under this first head, upon which I would touch a little.

He that has lost himself will never be more at his own dispose.

(1.) He that has lost his soul has lost himself. Now, he that lost himself is no more at his own dispose. While a man enjoys himself, he is at his own dispose. A single man, a free man, a rich man, a poor man, any man that enjoys himself, is at his own dispose. I speak after the manner of men. But he that has lost himself is not at his own dispose. He is, as I may say, now out of his own hands: he has lost himself, his soul-self, his own self, his whole self, by sin, and wrath and hell hath found him; he is, therefore, now no more at his own dispose, but at the dispose of justice, of wrath, and hell; he is committed to prison, to hell prison, there to abide, not at pleasure, not as long and as little time as he will, but the term appointed by his judge: nor may he there choose his own affliction, neither for manner, measure, or continuance. It is God that will spread the fire and brimstone under him, it is God that will pile up wrath upon him, and it is God himself that will blow the fire. And 'the breath of the Lord, like a stream of brimstone, Both kindle it' (Isa 30:33). And thus it is manifest that he that has lost himself, his soul, is no more at his own dispose, but at the dispose of them that find him.

He that hath lost himself, is not at liberty to dispose of what he hath.

(2.) Again, as he that has lost himself is not at his own dispose, so neither is he at liberty to dispose of what he has; for the man that has lost himself has something yet of his own. The text implies that his soul is his when lost, yea, when that and his all, himself is lost; but as he cannot dispose of himself, so he cannot dispose of what he hath. Let me take leave to make out my meaning. If he that is lost, that has lost himself, has not, notwithstanding, something that in some sense may be called his own, then he that is lost is nothing. The man that is in hell has yet the powers, the senses, and passions of his soul; for not he nor his soul must be thought to be stripped of these; for then he would be lower than the brute; but yet all these, since he is there, are by God improved against himself; or, if you will, the point of this man's sword is turned against his own heart, and made to pierce his own liver.

The soul by being in hell loseth nothing of its aptness to think, its quickness to pierce, to pry, and to understand; nay, hell has ripened it in all these things; but, I say, the soul with its improvements as to these, or anything else, is not in the hand of him that hath lost himself to manage for his own advantage, but in the hand, and in the power, and to be disposed as is thought meet by him into whose revenging hand by sin he has delivered himself—to wit, in the hand of God. So, then, God now has the victory, and disposeth of all the powers, senses, and passions of the soul for the chastising of him that has lost himself. Now the understanding is only employed and improved in and about the apprehending of such things as will be like daggers at the heart—to wit, about justice, sin, hell, and eternity, to grieve and break the spirit of the damned; yea, to break, to wound, and to tear the soul in pieces. The depths of sin which the man has loved, the good nature of God whom the man has hated, the blessings of eternity which the soul has despised, shall now be understood by him more than ever, but yet so only, as to increase grief and sorrow, by improving of the good and of the evil of the things understood, to the greater wounding of the spirit; wherefore now, every touch that the understanding shall give to the memory will be as a touch of a red-hot iron, or like a draught of scalding lead poured down the throat. The memory also letteth those things down upon the conscience with no less terror and perplexity. And now the fancy or imagination doth start and stare like a man by fears bereft of wits, and doth exercise itself, or rather is exercised by the hand of revenging justice, so about the breadth and depth of present and future punishments, as to lay the soul as on a burning rack. Now also the judgment, as with a mighty maul, driveth down the soul in the sense and pangs of everlasting misery into that pit that has no bottom; yea, it turneth again, and, as with a hammer, it riveteth every fearful thought and apprehension of the soul so fast that it can never be loosed again for ever and ever. Alas! now the conscience can sleep, be dull, be misled, or batter, no longer; no, it must now cry out; understanding will make it, memory will make it, fancy or imagination will make it. Now, I say, it will cry out of sin, of justice, and of the terribleness of the punishment that hath swallowed him up that has lost himself. Here will be no forgetfulness; yet nothing shall be thought on but that which will wound and kill; here will be no time, cause, or means for diversion; all will stick and gnaw like a viper. Now the memory will go out to where sin was heretofore committed, it will also go out to the word that did forbid it. The understanding also, and the judgment too, will now consider of the pretended necessity that the man had to break the commandments of God, and of the seasonableness of the cautions and of the convictions which were given him to forbear, by all which more load will be laid upon him that has lost himself; for here all the powers, senses, and passions of the soul must be made self-burners, self-tormentors, self-executioners, by the just judgment of God; also all that the will shall do in this place shall be but to wish for ease, but the wish shall only be such as shall only seem to lift up, for the cable rope of despair shall with violence pull him down again. The will indeed will wish for ease, and so will the mind, etc., but all these wishers will by wishing arrive to no more advantage but to make despair which is the most twinging stripe of hell, to cut yet deeper into the whole soul of him that has lost himself; wherefore, after all that can be wished for, they return again to their burning chair, where they sit and bewail their misery. Thus will all the powers, senses, and passions of the soul of him that has lost himself be out of his own power to dispose for his advantage, and will be only in the hand and under the management of the revenging justice of God. And herein will that state of the damned be worse than it is now with the fallen angels; for though the fallen angels are now cast down to hell, in chains, and sure in themselves at last to partake of eternal judgment, yet at present they are not so bound up as the damned sinner shall be; for notwithstanding their chains, and their being the prisoners of the horrible hells, yet they have a kind of liberty granted them, and that liberty will last till the time appointed, to tempt, to plot, to contrive, and invent their mischiefs, against the Son of God and His (Job 1:7; 2:2). And though Satan knows that this at last will work for his future condemnation, yet at present he finds it some diversion to his trembling mind, and obtains, through his so busily employing of himself against the gospel and its professors, something to sport and refresh himself withal; yea, and doth procure to himself some small crumbs of minutes of forgetfulness of his own present misery and of the judgment that is yet to pass upon him; but this privilege will then be denied to him that has lost himself; there will be no cause nor matter for diversion; there it will; as in the old world, rain day and night fire and brimstone from the Lord out of heaven upon them (Re 14:10-11). Misery is fixed; the worm will be always sucking at and gnawing of, their soul; also, as I have said afore, all the powers, senses, and passions of the soul will throw their darts inwards, yea, of God will be made to do it, to the utter, unspeakable, and endless torment of him that has lost himself. Again,

They cannot sit down by the loss.

(3.) All therefore that he that has lost himself can do is, to sit down by the loss. Do I say, he can do this?—oh! if that could be, it would be to such, a mercy; I must therefore here correct myself—That they cannot do; for to sit down by the loss implies a patient enduring; but there will be no such grace as patience in hell with him that has lost himself; here, will also want a bottom for patience—to wit, the providence of God; for a providence of God, though never so dismal, is a bottom for patience to the afflicted; but men go not to hell by providence, but by sin. Now sin being the cause, other effects are wrought; for they that go to hell, and that there miserably perish, shall never say it was God by His providence that brought them hither, and so shall not have that on which to lean and stay themselves.

They shall justify God, and lay the fault upon themselves concluding that it was sin with which their souls did voluntarily work—yea, which their souls did suck in as sweet milk—that is the cause of this their torment. Now this will work after another manner, and will produce quite another thing than patience, or a patient enduring of their torment; for their seeing that they are not only lost, but have lost themselves, and that against the ordinary means that of God was provided to prevent that loss; yea, when they shall see what a base thing sin is, how that it is the very worst of things, and that which also makes all things bad, and that for the sake of that they have lost themselves, this will make them fret, and, gnash, and gnaw with anger themselves; this will set all the passions of the soul, save love, for that I think will be stark dead, all in a rage, all in a self-tormenting fire. You know there is nothing that will sooner put a man into and manage his rage against himself than will a full conviction in his conscience that by his own only folly, and that against caution, and counsel, and reason to the contrary, he hath brought himself into extreme distress and misery. But how much more will it make this fire burn when he shall see all this is come upon him for a toy, for a bauble, for a thing that is worse than nothing!

Why, this is the case with him that has lost himself; and therefore he cannot sit down by the loss, cannot be at quiet under the sense of his loss. For sharply and wonderful piercingly, considering the loss of himself, and the cause thereof, which is sin, he falls to a tearing of himself in pieces with thoughts as hot as the coals of juniper, and to a gnashing upon himself for this; also the Divine wisdom and justice of God helpeth on this self-tormentor in his self-tormenting work, by holding the justice of the law against which he has offended, and the unreasonableness of such offence, continually before his face. For if, to an enlightened man who is in the door of hope, the sight of all past evil practices will work in him 'vexation of spirit,' to see what fools we were, (Ec 1:14); how can it but be to them that go to hell a vexation only to understand the report, the report that God did give them of sin, of His grace, of hell, and of everlasting damnation, and yet that they should be such fools to go thither? (Isa 28:19). But to pursue this head no further, I will come now to the next thing.

[The loss of the soul a double loss.]

Secondly, As the loss of the soul is, in the nature of the loss, a loss peculiar to itself, so the loss of the soul is a double loss; it is, I say, a loss that is double, lost both by man and God; man has lost it, and by that loss has lost himself; God has lost it, and by that loss it is cast away. And to make this a little plainer unto you, I suppose it will be readily granted that men do lose their souls. But now how doth God lose it? The soul is God's as well as man's—man's because it is of themselves; God's because it is His creature; God has made us this soul, and hence it is that all souls are His (Jer 38:16; Eze 18:4).

Now the loss of the soul doth not only stand in the sin of man, but in the justice of God. Hence He says, 'What is a man advantaged, if he gain the whole world, and lose himself, or be cast away' (Lu 9:25). Now this last clause, `or be cast away,' is not spoken to show what he that has lost his soul has done, though a man may also be said to cast away himself; but to show what God will do to those that have lost themselves, what God will add to that loss. God will not cast away a righteous man, but God will cast away the wicked, such a wicked one as by the text is under our consideration (Job 8:20; Mt 13:50). This, then, is that which God will add, and so make the sad state of them that lose themselves double. The man for sin has lost himself, and God by justice will cast him away; according to that of Abigail to David, 'The soul of my lord,' said she, 'shall be bound in the bundle of life with the Lord thy God; and the souls of thine enemies, them shall He sling out, as out of the middle of a sling' (1Sa 25:29). So that here is God's hand as well as man's; man's by sin, and God's by justice. God shall cast them away; wherefore in the text above mentioned he doth not say, or cast away himself, as meaning the act of the man whose soul is lost; but, 'or be cast away' (Lu 9:25). Supposing a second person joining with the man himself in the making up of the greatness of the loss of the soul—to wit, God himself, who will verily cast away that man who has lost himself. God shall cast them away—that is, exclude them His favour or protection, and deliver them up to the due reward of their deed! He shall shut them out of His heaven, and deliver them up to their hell; He shall deny them a share in his glory, and shall leave them to their own shame; He shall deny them a portion in His peace, and shall deliver them up to the torments of the devil, and of their own guilty consciences; He shall cast them out of His affection, pity, and compassion, and shall leave them to the flames that they by sin have kindled, and to the worm, or biting cockatrice, that they themselves have hatched, nursed, and nourished in their bosoms. And this will make their loss double, and so a loss that is loss to the uttermost, a loss above every loss. A man may cast away himself and not be cast away of God; a man may be cast away by others, and not be cast away of God; yea, what way soever a man be cast away, if he be not cast away for sin, he is safe, he is yet found, and in a sure hand. But for a man so to lose himself as by that loss to provoke God to cast him away too, this is fearful.

The casting away, then, mentioned in Luke, is a casting away by the hand of God, by the revenging hand of God; and it supposeth two things-1. God's abhorrence of such a soul. 2. God's just repaying of it for its wickedness by way of retaliation.

1. It supposeth God's abhorrence of the soul. That which we abhor, that we cast from us, and put out of our favour and respect with disdain, and a loathing thereof. So when God teacheth Israel to loathe and abhor their idols, He bids them 'to cast away their very covering as a stinking and menstruous cloth, and to say unto it, 'Get you hence' (Isa 30:22), 'He shall gather the good into vessels, and cast the bad away' (Mt 13:48; 25:41). Cast them out of My presence. Well, but whither must they go? The answer is, Into hell, into utter darkness, into the fire that is prepared for the devil and his angels. Wherefore, to be cast away, to be cast away of God, it showeth unto us God's abhorrence of such souls, and how vile and loathsome such are in His divine eyes. And the similitude of Abigail's sling, mentioned before, doth yet further show us the greatness of this abhorrence— 'The souls of thine enemies,' said she, 'God shall sling out as out of the middle of a sling.' When a man casts a stone away with a sling, then he casteth it furthest from him, for with a sling he can cast a stone further than by his hand. 'And he,' saith the text, 'shall cast them away as with a sling.' But that is not all, neither: for it is not only said that He shall sling away their souls, but that He shall sling them away as 'out of the middle of a sling.' When a stone is placed, to be cast away, in the middle of a sling, then doth the slinger cast it furthest of all. Now God is the slinger, abhorrence is His sling, the lost soul is the stone, and it is placed in the very middle of the sling, and is from thence cast away. And, therefore, it is said again, that 'such shall go into utter, outer darkness'—that is, furthest off of all. This therefore shows us how God abhors that man that for sin has lost himself. And well he may; for such an one has not only polluted and defiled himself with sin; and that is the most offensive thing to God under heaven; but he has abused the handiwork of God. The soul, as I said before, is the workmanship of God, yea, the top-piece that He hath made in all the visible world; also He made it for to be delighted with it, and to admit it into communion with Himself. Now for man thus to abuse God; for a man to take his soul, which is God's, and prostrate it to sin, to the world, to the devil, and every beastly lust, flat against the command of God, and notwithstanding the soul was also His; this is horrible, and calls aloud upon that God whose soul this is to abhor, and to show, by all means possible, His abhorrence of such an one.

2. As this casting of them away supposeth God's abhorrence of them, so it supposeth God's just repaying of them for their wickedness by way of retaliation.

God all the time of the exercise of His long-suffering and forbearance towards them, did call upon them, wait upon them, send after them by His messengers, to turn them from their evil ways; but they despised at, they mocked, the messengers of the Lord. Also they shut their eyes, and would not see; they stopped their ears, and would not understand; and did harden themselves against the beseeching of their God. Yea, all that day long He did stretch out His hand towards them, but they chose to be a rebellious and gainsaying people; yea, they said unto God, 'Depart from us;' and 'what is the Almighty' that we should pray unto him? (Ho 6:2; Re 16:21; Job 21:14-15; Mal 3:14).

And of all these things God takes notice, writes them down, and seals them up for the time to come, and will bring them out and spread them before them, saying, I have called, and you have refused; I have stretched out Mine hand, and no man regarded; I have exercised patience, and gentleness, and long-suffering towards you, and in all that time you despised Me, and cast Me behind your back; and now the time, and the exercise of My patience, when I waited upon you, and suffered your manners, and did bear your contempts and scorns, is at an end; wherefore I will now arise, and come forth to the judgment that I have appointed.

But, Lord, saith the sinner, we turn now.

But now; saith God, turning is out of season; the day of My patience is ended.

But, Lord, says the sinner, behold our cries. But you did not, says God, behold nor regard My cries.

But, Lord, saith the sinner, let our beseeching find place in Thy compassions.

But, saith God, I also beseeched, and I was not heard.

But Lord, says the sinner, our sins lie hard upon us.

But I offered you pardon when time was, says God, and then you did utterly reject it.

But, Lord, says the sinner, let us therefore have it now.

But now the door is shut, saith God.

And what then? Why, then, by way of retaliation, God will serve them as they have served Him; and so the wind-up of the whole will be this—they shall have like for like. Time was when they would have none of Him, and now will God have none of them. Time was when they cast God behind their back, and now He will cast away their soul. Time was when they would not heed His calls, and now He will not heed their cries. Time was when they abhorred Him, and now His soul also abhorreth them (Zec 11:8). This is now by way of retaliation—like for like, scorn for scorn, repulse for repulse, contempt for contempt; according to that which is written, `Therefore it is come to pass, that as He cried, and they would not hear; so they cried, and I would not hear, saith the Lord' (Zec 7:13). And thus I have also showed you that the loss of the soul is double—lost by man, lost by God.

But oh! who thinks of this? who, I say, that now makes light of God, of His Word, His servants, and ways, once dreams of such retaliation, though God to warn them hath even, in the day of His patience, threatened to do it in the day of His wrath, saying, 'Because I have called, and ye refused; I have stretched out My hand, and no man regarded; but ye have set at nought all My counsel, and would none of My reproof: I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your fear cometh; when your fear cometh as desolation, and your destruction cometh as a whirlwind; when distress and anguish cometh upon you. Then shall they call upon Me, but I will not answer; they shall seek Me early, but they shall not find Me' (Prow 1:24-28). I will do unto them as they have done unto Me; and what unrighteousness is in all this? But,

[The loss of the soul most fearful.]

Thirdly, As the loss of the soul is a loss peculiar to itself, and a loss double, so, in the third place, it is a loss most fearful, because it is a loss attended with the most heavy curse of God. This is manifest both in the giving of the rule of life, and also in, and at the time of execution for, the breach of that rule. It is manifest at the giving of the rule — 'Cursed be he that confirmeth not all the words of this law to do them. And all the people shall say, Amen' (De 27:26; Ga 3:10). It is also manifest that it shall be so at the time of execution— 'Depart from Me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels' (Mt 25:41). What this curse is, none do know so well as God that giveth it, and as the fallen angels, and the spirits of damned men that are now shut up in the prison of hell, and bear it. But certainly it is the chief and highest of all kind of curses. To be cursed in the basket and in the store, in the womb and in the barn, in my cattle and in my body, are but flea-bitings to this, though they are also insupportable in themselves; only in general it may be described thus. But to touch upon this curse, it lieth in deprivation of all good, and in a being swallowed up of all the most fearful miseries that a holy, and just, and eternal God can righteously inflict, or lay upon the soul of a sinful man. Now let Reason here come in and exercise itself in the most exquisite manner; yea, let him now count up all, and all manner of curses and torments that a reasonable and an immortal soul is, or can be made capable of, and able to suffer under, and when he has done, he shall come infinitely short of this great anathema, this master curse which God has reserved amongst His treasuries, and intends to bring out in that day of battle and war, which He purposeth to make upon damned souls in that day.16 And this God will do, partly as a retaliation, as the former, and partly by way of revenge. 1. By way of retaliation: 'As he loved cursing, so let it come unto him: as he delighted not in blessing, so let it be far from him.' Again, 'As he clothed himself with cursing like as with his garment, so let it come into his bowels like water, and like oil into his bones; let it be unto him as a garment which covereth him, and for a girdle wherewith he is girded continually' (Ps 109:17-19). 'Let this,' saith Christ,17 'be the reward of mine adversaries from the Lord' (vs. 20 etc). 2. As this curse comes by way of retaliation, so it cometh by way of revenge. God will right the wrongs that sinners have done Him, will repay vengeance for the despite and reproach wherewith they have affronted Him, and will revenge the quarrel of His covenant. And the beginning of revenges are terrible, (De 31:30,30); what, then, will the whole execution be, when He shall come in flaming fire, taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of Jesus Christ? And, therefore, this curse is executed in wrath, in jealousy, in anger, in fury; yea, the heavens and the earth shall be burned up with the fire of that jealousy in which the great God will come, when He cometh to curse the souls of sinners, and when He cometh to defy the ungodly, (2Th 1:7-9).

16 These awful denunciations are so many proofs of the immutablilty of the justice and of the Word of God.—Ed.

17 `Saith Christ;' Peter in Ac 1:20, applies this Psalm to Christ, when the Jews cried, 'His blood be upon us and upon our children;' then did they put on the envenomed garment which has tormented them ever since. It is girded about their loins; the curse has penetrated like water, and entered the very bones like oil. How awful will be the state of those who crucify Him afresh, and again put Him to open shame!—Horsley.

It is little thought of, but the manner of the coming of God to judge the world declares what the souls of impenitent sinners must look for then. It is common among men, when we see the form of a man's countenance changed, when we see fire sparkle out of his eyes, when we read rage and fury in every cast of his face, even before he says aught, or Both aught either, to conclude that some fearful thing is now to be done (Da 3:19,23). Why, it is said of Christ when He cometh to judgment, that the heavens and the earth fly away, as not being able to endure His looks, (Re 20:11-12); that His angels are clad in flaming fire, and that the elements melt with fervent heat; and all this is, that the perdition of ungodly men might be completed, 'from the presence of the Lord, in the heat of His anger, from the glory of His power' (2Pe 3:7; 2Th 1:8-9). Therefore, God will now be revenged, and so ease Himself of His enemies, when He shall cause curses like millstones to fall as thick as hail on 'the hairy scalp of such a one as goeth on still in his trespasses' (Ps 68:21). But,

[The loss of the soul a loss everlasting.]

Fourthly, As the loss of the soul is a loss peculiar to itself, a loss double, and a loss most fearful, so it is a loss everlasting. The soul that is lost is never to be found again, never to be recovered again, never to be redeemed again, its banishment from God is everlasting; the fire in which it burns, and by which it must be tormented, is a fire that is ever, everlasting fire, everlasting burnings; the adder, the snake, the stinging worm, dieth not, nor is the fire quenched; and this is a fearful thing. A man may endure to touch the fire with a short touch, and away; but to dwell with everlasting burnings, that is fearful. Oh, then, what is dwelling with them, and in them, for ever and ever! We use to say, light burdens far carried are heavy; what, then, will it be to bear that burden, that guilt, that the law and the justice and wrath of God will lay upon the lost soul for ever? Now tell the stars, now tell the drops of the sea, and now tell the blades of grass that are spread upon the face of all the earth, if thou canst: and yet sooner mayest thou do this than count the thousands of millions of thousands of years that a damned soul shall lie in hell. Suppose every star that is now in the firmament was to burn, by himself, one by one, a thousand years apiece, would it not be a long while before the last of them was burned out? and yet sooner might that be done than the damned soul be at the end of punishment.

There are three things couched under this last head that will fill up the punishment of a sinner. 1. The first is, that it is everlasting. 2. The second is, that, therefore, it will be impossible for the souls in hell ever to say, Now we are got half way through our sorrows. 3. The third is, and yet every moment they shall endure eternal punishment.

1. The first I have touched upon already, and, therefore, shall not enlarge; only I would ask the wanton or unthinking sinner, whether twenty, or thirty, or forty years of the deceitful pleasures of sin is so rich a prize, as that a man may well venture the ruin, that everlasting burnings will make upon his soul for the obtaining of them, and living a few moments in them. Sinner, consider this before I go any further, or before thou readest one line more. If thou hast a soul, it concerns thee; if there be a hell, it concerns thee; and if there be a God that can and will punish the soul for sin everlastingly in hell, it concerns thee; because,

2. In the second place, it will be impossible for the damned soul ever to say, I am now got half way through my sorrows. That which has no end, has no middle. Sinner, make a round circle, or ring, upon the ground, of what bigness thou wilt; this done, go thy way upon that circle, or ring, until thou comest to the end thereof; but that, sagest thou, I can never do; because it has no end. I answer, but thou mayest as soon do that as wade half way through the lake of fire that is prepared for impenitent souls. Sinner, what wilt thou take to make a mountain of sand that will reach as high as the sun is at noon? I know that thou wilt not be engaged in such a work; because it is impossible thou shouldst ever perform it. But I dare say the task is greater when the sinner has let out himself to sin for a servant; because the wages is everlasting burnings. I know thou mayest perform thy service; but the wages, the judgment, the punishment is so endless, that thou, when thou hast been in it more millions of years than can be numbered, art not, nor never yet shalt be, able to say, I am half way through it. And yet,

3. That soul shall partake every moment of that punishment that is eternal. 'Even as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire' (Jude 7).

(1.) They shall endure eternal punishment in the nature of punishment. There is no punishment here wherewith one man can chastise another that can deserve a greater title than that of transient, or temporary punishment; but the punishment there is eternal, even in every stripe that is given, and in every moment that it grappleth with the soul; even every twinge, every gripe, and every stroke that justice inflicteth, leaveth anguish that, of their condition according as will best stand with in the nature of punishment, is eternal behind it. It is eternal, because it is from God, and lasts for ever and ever. The justice that inflicts it has not a beginning, and it is this justice in the operations of it that is always dealing with the soul.

(2.) All the workings of the soul under this punishment are such as cause it, in its sufferings, to endure that which is eternal. It can have no thought of the end of punishment, but it is presently recalled by the decreed gulf that bindeth them under perpetual punishment. The great fixed gulf, they know, will keep them in their present place, and not suffer them to go to heaven (Lu 16:26). And now there is no other place but heaven or hell to be in; for then the earth, and the works that are therein, will be burned up. Read the text, 'But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat; the earth also and all the works that are therein, shall be burned up' (2Pe 3:10). If, then, there will be no third place, it standeth in their minds, as well as in God's decree, that their punishments shall be eternal; so, then, sorrows, anguish, tribulation, grief, woe, and pain, will, in every moment of its abiding upon the soul, not only flow from thoughts of what has been, and what is, but also from what will be, and that for ever and ever. Thus every thought that is truly grounded in the cause and nature of their state will roll, toss, and tumble them up and down in the cogitations and fearful apprehensions of the lastingness of their damnation. For, I say, their minds, their memories, their understandings, and consciences, will all, and always, be swallowed up with 'for ever;' yea, they themselves will, by the means of these things, be their own tormentors for ever.

(3.) There will not be spaces, as days, months, years, and the like, as now; though we make bold so to speak, the better to present our thoughts to each other's capacities; for then there shall be time no longer; also, day and night shall then be come to an end. 'He hath compassed the waters with bounds, until the day and night come to an end' (Job 26:10). Until the end of light with darkness. Now when time, and day, and night, are come to an end, then there comes in eternity, as there was before the day, and night, or time, was created; and when this is come, punishment nor glory must none of them be measured by days, or months, or years, but by eternity itself. Nor shall those concerned either in misery or glory reckon of their now new state, as they need to reckon of things in this world; but they shall be suited in their capacities, in their understandings and apprehensions, to judge and count of their condition according as will best stand with their state in eternity.18

18 How awfully inconceivable is that eternal death that never dieth; that final end that never endeth—an immortal death—a soul-murdering life—ever dying, but never dead; were the mountains and rocks to fall upon and and crush them, still eternity would intervene between them and death. Oh that grace may be given to ransom our souls from the doom we have deserved!—Ed.

Could we but come to an understanding of things done in heaven and hell, as we understand how things are done in this world, we should be strangely amazed to see how the change of places and of conditions has made a change in the understandings of men, and in the manner of their enjoyment of things. But this we must let alone till the next world, and until our launching into it; and then, whether we be of the right or left hand ones, we shall well know the state and condition of both kingdoms. In the meantime, let us addict ourselves to the belief of the Scriptures of truth, for therein is revealed the way to that of eternal life, and how to escape the damnation of the soul (Mt 25:33). But thus much for the loss of the soul, unto which let me add, for a conclusion, these verses following:—

These cry alas! But all in vain;
They stick fast in the mire;
They would be rid of present pain,
Yet set themselves on fire.

 Darkness is their perplexity,
Yet do they hate the light;
They always see their misery,
Yet are themselves, all night.

They are all dead, yet live they do,
Yet neither live nor die;
They die to weal,19 and live to woe—
This is their misery.

Now will confusion so possess,
These monuments of ire,
And so confound them with distress,
And trouble their desire,

That what to think, or what to do,
Or where to lay their head,
They know not: `tis the damned's woe,
To live, and yet be dead.

These castaways would fain have life,
But know they never shall;
They would forget their dreadful plight.
But that sticks fast'st of all.

God, Christ, and heav'n, they know are best,
Yet dare not on them think;
They know the saints enjoy their rest,
While they their tears do drink.

19 'Weal;' wealth, happiness, prosperity; 'wherefore taking comfort and boldness, partly of your grace and benevolent inclination toward the universal weal of your subjects, partly inflamed with zeal, I have now enterprized to describe, in our vulgar tongue, the form of a just public weal.'—Sir T. Elyot, Dedication of the Governor to Henry VIII.—Ed.



FOURTH, And now I am come to the fourth thing—that is, to show you the cause of the loss of the soul. That men have souls, that souls are great things, that souls may be lost, this I have showed you already; wherefore I now proceed to show you the cause of this loss. The cause is laid down in Eze 18, in these words— 'Behold, all souls,' says God, 'are Mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is Mine: the soul that sinneth, it shall die' (Eze 5:4).

[Sin the cause of the loss of his soul.]

First, It is sin, then, or sinning against God, that is the cause of dying, or damning in hell fire, for that must be meant by dying; otherwise, to die, according to our ordinary acceptation of the notion, the soul is not capable of, it being indeed immortal, as hath been afore asserted. So, then, the soul that sinneth—that is, and persevering in the same—that soul shall die, be cast away, or damned; yea, to ascertain us of the undoubted truth of this, the Holy Ghost Both repeat it again, and that in this very chapter, saying, 'The soul that sinneth, it shall die' (Eze 5:17). Now, the soul may divers ways be said to sin against God; as,

1. In its receiving of sin into its bosom, and in its retaining and entertaining of it there. Sin must first be received before it can act in, or be acted by, the soul. Our first parents first received it in the suggestion or motion, and then acted it. Now it is not here to be disputed when sin was received by the soul, so much as whether ever the soul received sin; for if the soul has indeed received sin into itself, then it has sinned, and by doing so, has made itself an object of the wrath of God, and a fire brand of hell. I say, I will not here dispute when sin was received by the soul, but it is apparent enough that it received it betimes, because in old time every child that was brought unto the Lord was to be redeemed, and that at a month old, (Ex 13:13; 34:20; Nu 18:15-16); which, to be sure, was very early, and implied that then, even then, the soul in God's judgment stood before Him as defiled and polluted with sin. But although I said I will not dispute at what time the soul may be said to receive sin, yet it is evident that it was precedent to the redemption made mention of just before, and so before the person redeemed had attained the age of a month. And that God might, in the language of Moses, give us to see cause of the necessity of this redemption, he first distinguisheth, and saith, 'The firstling of a cow, or the firstling of a sheep, or the firstling of a goat,' did not need this redemption, for they were clean, or holy. But the firstborn of men, who was taken in lieu of the rest of the children, and the 'firstling of unclean beasts, thou shalt surely redeem,' saith He. But why was the firstborn of men coupled with unclean beasts, but because they are both unclean? The beast was unclean by God's ordination, but the other was unclean by sin. Now, then, it will be demanded, how a soul, before it was a month old, could receive sin to the making of itself unclean? I answer, There are two ways of receiving, one active, the other passive; this last is the way by which the soul at first receiveth sin, and by so receiving, becometh culpable, because polluted and defiled by it. And this passive way of receiving is often mentioned in Scripture. Thus the pans received the ashes, (Ex 27:3); thus the molten sea received three thousand baths, (2Ch 4:5); thus the ground receiveth the seed, (Mt 13:20-23); and this receiving is like that of the wool which receiveth the dye, either black, white, or red; and as the fire that receiveth the water till it be all quenched therewith: or as the water receiveth such stinking and poisonous matter into it, as for the sake of it, it is poured out and spilt upon the ground. But whence should the soul thus receive sin? I answer, from the body, while it is in the mother's belly; the body comes from polluted man, and therefore is polluted (Ps 51:5). 'Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean?' (Job 14:4). The soul comes from God's hand, and therefore as so is pure and clean: but being put into this body, it is tainted, polluted, and defiled with the taint, stench, and filth of sin; nor can this stench and filth be by man purged out, when once from the body got into the soul; sooner may the blackamoor change his skin, or the leopard his spots, than the soul, were it willing, might purge itself of this pollution. 'Though thou wash thee with nitre, and take thee much soap, yet thine iniquity is marked before Me, saith the Lord God' (Jer 2:22).

2. But as I said, the soul has not only received sin, but retains it, holds it, and shows no kind of resistance. It is enough that the soul is polluted and defiled, for that is sufficient to provoke God to cast it away; for which of you would take a cloth annoyed with stinking, ulcerous sores, to wipe your mouth withal, or to thrust it into your bosoms? and the soul is polluted with far worse pollution than any such can be. But this is not all; it retains sin as the wool retains the dye, or as the infected water receives the stench or poisonous scent; I say, it retains it willingly; for all the power of the soul is not only captivated by a seizure of sin upon the soul, but it willingly, heartily, unanimously, universally falleth in with the natural filth and pollution that is in sin, to the estranging of itself from God, and an obtaining of an intimacy and compliance with the devil.

Now this being the state and condition of the soul from the belly,20 yea, from before it sees the light of this world, what can be concluded but that God is offended with it? For how can it otherwise be, since there is holiness and justice in God? Hence those that are born of a woman, whose original is by carnal conception with man, are said to be as serpents so soon as born. `The wicked (and all at first are so) go astray as soon as they be born, speakings lies. Their poison is like the poison of a serpent: they are like the deaf adder, that stoppeth her ear' (Ps 58:3-4). They go astray from the belly; but that they would not do, if aught of the powers of their soul were unpolluted. 'But their poison is like the poison of a serpent.' Their poison—what is that? Their pollution, their original pollution, that is as the poison of a serpent—to wit, not only deadly, for so poison is, but also hereditary. It comes from the old one, from the sire and dam; yea, it is also now become connatural to and with them, and is of the same date with the child as born into the world. The serpent has not her poison, in the original of it, either from imitation or from other infective things abroad, though it may by such things be helped forward and increased; but she brings it with her in her bowels, in her nature, and it is to her as suitable to her present condition as it is that which is most sweet and wholesome to other of the creatures. So, then, every soul comes into the world as poisoned with sin; nay, as such which have poison connatural to them; for it has not only received sin as the wool has received the dye, but it retaineth it. The infection is got so deep, it has taken the black so effectually, that the tint, the very fire of hell, can never purge the soul therefrom.

20 'From the belly,': from its birth.

And that the soul has received this infection thus early, and that it retains it so surely, is not only signified by children coming into the world besmeared in their mother's blood, and by the firstborn's being redeemed at a month old, but also by the first inclinations and actions of children when they are so come into the world (Ex 26). Who sees not that lying, pride, disobedience to parents, and hypocrisy, do put forth themselves in children before they know that they do either well or ill in so doing, or before they are capable to learn either of these arts by imitation, or seeing understandingly the same things done first by others? He that sees not that they do it naturally from a principle, from an inherent principle, is either blinded, and has retained his darkness by the same sin as they, or has suffered himself to be swayed by a delusion from him who at first infused this spawn of sin into man's nature.

Nor doth the averseness of children to morality a little demonstrate what has been said; for as it would make a serpent sick, should one give it a strong antidote against his poison, so then are children, and never more than then, disturbed in their minds, when a strict hand and a stiff rein by moral discipline is maintained over and upon them. True, sometimes restraining grace corrects them, but that is not of themselves; but more oft hypocrisy is the great and first moving wheel to all their seeming compliances with admonitions, which indulgent parents are apt to overlook, yea, and sometimes, through unadvisedness, to count for the principles of grace. I speak now of that which comes before conversion. But as I said before, I would not now dispute, only I have thought good thus to urge these things to make my assertion manifest, and to show what is the cause of the damnation of the soul.

3. Again; as the soul receives sin, and retains it, so it also doth entertain it—that is, countenance, smile upon, and like its complexion and nature well. A man may detain—that is, hold fast—a thing which yet he doth not regard; but when he entertains, then he countenances, likes, and delights in the company. Sin, then, is first received by the soul, as has been afore explained, and by that reception is polluted and defiled. This makes it hateful in the eyes of justice: it is now polluted. Then, secondly, this sin is not only received, but retained—that is, it sticks so fast, abides so fixedly in the soul, that it cannot be gotten out; this is the cause of the continuation of abhorrence; for if God abhors because there is a being of sin there, it must needs be that he should continue to abhor, since sin continues to have a being there. But then, in the third place, sin is not only received, detained, but entertained by the now defiled and polluted soul; wherefore this must needs be a cause of the continuance of anger, and that with aggravation. When I say, entertained, I do not mean as men entertain their enemies, with small and great shot,21 but as they entertain those whom they like, and those that are got into their affections.22 And therefore the wrath of God must certainly be let out upon the soul, to the everlasting damnation of it.

21 Bunyan having been engaged in the civil war, accounts for his using this military idea.—Ed.

22 God hates not the sinner, but the sin; the glorious provision made for salvation, proves His good will to sinful souls. This will be 'the worm that dieth not,' to sinners to reflect, that, in rejecting the inviting promises of God, they have sealed their own condemnation.—Mason

Now that the soul doth thus entertain sin, is manifest by these several particulars—

(1.) It hath admitted it with complacence and delight into every chamber of the soul; I mean, it has been delightfully admitted to an entertainment by all the powers or faculties of the soul. The soul hath chosen it rather than God: it also, at God's command, refuseth to let it go; yea, it chooseth that doctrine, and loveth it best, since it must have a doctrine, that has most of sin and baseness in it (Isa 65:12; 66:3). They 'say to the seers, See not; and to the prophets, Prophesy not unto us right things, speak unto us smooth things, prophesy deceits' (Isa 30:10). These are signs that the soul with liking hath entertained sin; and if there be at any time, as indeed there is, a warrant issued out from the mouth of God to apprehend, to condemn, and mortify sin, why then,

(2.) These shifts the souls of sinners do presently make for the saving of sin from those things that by the Word men are commanded to do unto it—

(a) They will, if possible, hide it, and not suffer it to be discovered. 'He that hideth his sins23 shall not prosper' (Prow 28:13). And again, they hide it, and refuse to let it go (Job 20:12-13). This is an evident sign that the soul has a favour for sin, and that with liking it, entertains it.

23 `Hideth his sins,' is quoted from the Genevan, or Puritan version.—Ed.

(b) As it will hide it, so it will excuse it, and plead that this and that piece of wickedness is no such evil thing; men need not be so nice, and make such a pother24 about it, calling those that cry out so hotly against it, men more nice than wise. Hence the prophets of old used to be called madmen, and the world would reply against their doctrine, Wherein have we been so wearisome to God, and what have we spoken so much against Him? (Mal 1:6-7; 3:8,13).

24 `Pother;' to be, or cause to be, as one involved in dust, in a cloud; to perplex, to puzzle, to confound.—Ed.

c) As the soul will do this, so to save sin, it will cover it with names of virtue, either moral or civil; and of this God greatly complains, yea, breaks into anger for this, saying, 'Woe to them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; and put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter' (Isa 5:20)!

(d) If convictions and discovery of sin be so strong and so plain, that the soul cannot deny but that it is sin, and that God is offended therewith; then it will give flattering promises to God that it will indeed put it away; but yet it will prefix a time that shall be long first, if it also then at all performs it, saying, Yet a little sleep, yet a little slumber, yet a little folding of sin in mine arms, till I am older, till I am richer, till I have had more of the sweetness and the delights of sin. Thus, 'their soul delighteth in their abominations' (Isa 66:3).

(e) If God yet pursues, and will see whether this promise of putting sin out of doors shall be fulfilled by the soul, why then, it will be partial in God's law; it will put away some, and keep some; put away the grossest, and keep the finest; put away those that can best be spared, and keep the most profitable for a help at a pinch (Mal 2:9).

(f) Yes, if all sin must be abandoned, or the soul shall have no rest, why then, the soul and sin will part (with such a parting as it is), even as Phaltiel parted with David's wife, with an ill will and a sorrowful mind; or as Orpha left her mother, with a kiss (2Sa 3:16; Ru 1:14).

(g) And if at any time they can, or shall, meet with each other again, and nobody never the wiser, 0, what courting will be betwixt sin and the soul? And this is called doing of things in the dark (Eze 8:12).

By all these, and many more things that might be instanced, it is manifest that sin has a friendly entertainment by the soul, and that therefore the soul is guilty of damnation; for what do all these things argue, but that God, His Word, His ways, and graces, are out of favour with the soul, and that sin and Satan are its only pleasant companions? But,

[How sin, by the help of the soul, destroys it.]

Secondly, That I may yet show you what a great thing sin is with the soul that is to be damned, I will show how sin, by the help of the soul, is managed, from the motion of sin, even till it comes to the very act; for sin cannot come to an act without the help of the soul. The body Both little here, as I shall further show you anon.

There is then a motion of sin presented to the soul (and whether presented by sin itself or the devil, we will not at this time dispute); motions of sin, and motions to sin there are, and always the end of the motions of sin are to prevail with the soul to help that motion into an act. But, I say, there is a motion to sin moved to the soul; or, as James calls it, a conception. Now behold how the soul deals with this motion in order to the finishing of sin, that death might follow (Ro 7:5).

1. This motion is taken notice of by the soul, but is not resisted nor striven against, only the soul lifts up its eyes upon it, and sees that there is present a motion to sin, a motion of sin presented to the soul, that the soul might midwife it from the conception into the world.

2. Well, notice being taken that a motion to sin is present, what follows but that the fancy or imagination of the soul taketh it home to it, and Both not only look upon it and behold it more narrowly, but begins to trick and trim up the sin to the pleasing of itself and of all the powers of the soul. That this is true, is evident, because God findeth fault with the imagination as with that which lendeth to sin the first hand, and that giveth to it the first lift towards its being helped forward to act. 'And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth' (Ge 6:5,12-13). That is, many abominable actions were done; for all flesh had corrupted God's way upon the earth. But how came this to be so? Why, every imagination of the thoughts, or of the motions that were in the heart to sin, was evil, only evil, and that continuously. The imagination of the thoughts was evil —that is, such as tended not to deaden or stifle, but such as tended to animate and forward the motions or thoughts of sin into action. Every imagination of the thoughts—that which is here called a thought, by Paul to the Romans, called a motion. Now the imagination should, and would, had it been on God's side, so have conceived of this motion of and to sins, all to have presented it in all its features so ugly, so ill favoured, and so unreasonable a thing to the soul, that the soul should forthwith have let down the sluice, and pulled up the drawbridge, put a stop, with greatest defiance, to the motion now under consideration; but the imagination being defiled, it presently, at the very first view or noise of the motion of sin, so acted as to forward the bringing the said motion or thought into act. So, then, the thought of sin, or motion thereto, is first of all entertained by the imagination and fancy of the soul, and thence conveyed to the rest of the powers of the soul to be condemned, if the imagination be good; but to be helped forward to the act, if the imagination be evil. And thus the evil imagination helpeth the motion of and to sin towards the act, even by dressing of it up in that guise and habit that may best delude the understanding, judgment, and conscience; and that is done after this manner: suppose a motion of sin to commit fornication, to swear, to steal, to act covetously, or the like, be propounded to the fancy and imagination; the imagination, if evil, presently dresseth up this motion in that garb that best suiteth with the nature of the sin. As, if it be the lust of uncleanness, then is the motion to sin drest up in all the imaginable pleasurableness of that sin; if to covetousness, then is the sin drest up in the profits and honours that attend that sin; and so of theft and the like; but if the motion be to swear, hector, or the like, then is that motion drest up with valour and manliness; and so you may count of the rest of sinful motions; and thus being trimmed up like a Bartholomew baby,25 it is presented to all the rest of the powers of the soul, where with joint consent it is admired and embraced, to the firing and inflaming all the powers of the soul.

25 This is an allusion to a custom, nearly obsolete, originating in the feast of tabernacles, of sacrificing to Vacina at the harvest home. The Papists substituted St. Bartholomew for the heathen goddess. Upon his day, the harvest being completed, an image of straw was carried about, called the corn, or Bartholomew, baby; and masters, mistresses, men, and maidens danced and rioted together; thus, under the guise of harmless joy, much evil was perpetrated.—Ed

And hence it is that men are said to inflame themselves with their idols under every green tree. 'And to be as fed horses, neighing after their neighbour's wife' (Jer 5:8). For the imagination is such a forcible power, that if it putteth forth itself to dress up and present a thing to the soul, whether that thing be evil or good, the rest of the faculties cannot withstand it. Therefore, when David prayed for the children of Israel, he said, 'I have seen with joy thy people, which are present here, to offer willingly unto thee;' that is, for preparations to build the temple. '0 Lord God,' saith he, 'keep this for ever in the imagination of the thoughts of the heart of Thy people, and prepare their heart unto Thee' (1Ch 29:17-18). He knew that as the imagination was prepared, so would the soul be moved, whether by evil or good; therefore as to this, he prays that their imagination might be engaged always with apprehensions of the beauteousness of the temple, that they might always, as now, offer willingly for its building.

But, as I said, when the imagination hath thus set forth sin to the rest of the faculties of the soul, they are presently entangled, and fall into a flame of love thereto; this being done, it follows that a purpose to pursue this motion, till it be brought unto act, is the next thing that is resolved on. Thus Esau, after he had conceived of that profit that would accrue to him by murdering of his brother, fell the next way into a resolve to spill Jacob's blood. And Rebecca sent for Jacob, and said unto him, `Behold, thy brother Esau, as touching thee, doth comfort himself, purposing to kill thee' (Ge 27:42). See also (Jer 49:30). Nor is this purpose to do an evil without its fruit, for he comforted himself in his evil purpose: 'Esau, as touching thee, doth comfort himself, purposing to kill thee.'

The purpose, therefore, being concluded, in the next place the invention is diligently set to work to find out what means, methods, and ways, will be thought best to bring this purpose into practice, and this motion to sin into action. Esau invented the death of his brother when his father was to be carried to his grave (Ge 27:41). David purposed to make Uriah father his bastard child by making of him drunk (2Sa 11:13). Amnon purposed to ravish Tamar, and the means that he invented to do it were by feigning himself sick. Absalom purposed to kill Amnon, and invented to do it at a feast (2Sa 13:32). Judas purposed to sell Christ, and invented to betray him in the absence of the people (Lu 22:3-6). The Jews purposed to kill Paul, and invented to entreat the judge of a blandation26 to send for him, that they might murder him as he went (Ac 23:12-15).

26 'A blandation,' an obsolete word, which means wheedling, flattering speech, soft words.—Ed.

Thus you see how sin is, in the motion of it, handed through the soul—first, it comes into the fancy or imagination, by which it is so presented to the soul, as to inflame it with desire to bring it into act; so from this desire the soul proceedeth to a purpose of enjoying, and from a purpose of enjoying to inventing how, or by what means, it had best to attempt the accomplishing of it.

But, further, when the soul has thus far, by its wickedness, pursued the motion of sin to bring it into action, then to the last thing; to wit, to endeavours, to take the opportunity, which, by the invention, is judged most convenient; so to endeavours it goes, till it has finished sin, and finished, in finishing of that, its own fearful damnation. 'Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin; and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death' (Jas 1:15).

And who knows, but God and the soul, how many lets, hindrances, convictions, fears, frights, misgivings, and thoughts of the judgment of God, all this while are passing and repassing, turning and returning, over the face of the soul? how many times the soul is made to start, look back, and tremble, while it is pursuing the pleasure, profit, applause, or preferment that sin, when finished, promiseth to yield unto the soul? for God is such a lover of the soul, that He seldom lets it go on in sin, but He cries to it, by His Word and providences, 'Oh! do not this abominable thing that I hate!' (Jer 44:4); especially at first, until it shall have hardened itself, and so provoked Him to give it up in sin-revenging judgment to its own ways and doings, which is the terriblest judgment under heaven; and this brings me to the third thing, the which I now will speak to.

3. As the soul receives, detains, entertains, and wilily worketh to bring sin from the motion into act, so it abhorreth to be controlled and taken off of this work— 'My soul loathed them,' says God, 'and their soul also abhorred Me' (Zec 6:8). My soul loathed them, because they were so bad; and their souls abhorred Me, because I am so good. Sin, then, is the cause of the loss of the soul; because it hath set the soul, or, rather, because the soul of love to sin hath set itself against God. 'Woe unto their soul, for they have rewarded evil unto themselves'(Isa 3:9).

[Through sin the soul sets itself against God.]

Third, That you may the better perceive that the soul, through sin, has set itself against God, I will propose, and speak briefly to, these two things: —I. The law. II. The gospel.

I. For the law. God has given it for a rule of life, either as written in their natures, or as inserted in the Holy Scriptures; I say, for a rule of life to all the children of men. But what have men done, or how have they carried it to this law of their Creator; let us see, and that from the mouth of God himself.

1. 'They have not hearkened unto My words' (Jer 6:19).

2. 'They have forsaken My law' (Jer 9:13).

3. They 'have forsaken Me, and have not kept My law' (Jer 16:11).

4. They have not 'walked in My law, nor in My statutes' (Jer 44:4).

5. 'Her priests have violated My law' (Eze 22:26).

6. And, saith God, 'I have written to him the great things of My law, but they were counted as a strange thing.' (Ho 8:12).

Now, whence should all this disobedience arise? Not from the unreasonableness of the commandment, but from the opposition that is lodged in us against God, and the enmity that it entertains against goodness. Hence the apostle speaks of the emnity, and says, that men are enemies in their minds, their souls, as is manifest by wicked works (Col 1:21). This, if men went no further, must needs be highly provoking to a just and holy God: yea, so highly offensive is it, that, to show the heat of His anger, He saith, 'Indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil,' and this evil with a witness, 'of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile,' that doth evil (Ro 2:8-9). That breaketh the law; for that evil He is crying out against now. But,

II. To speak of the gospel, and of the carriage of sinful souls towards God under that dispensation.

The gospel is a revelation of a sovereign remedy, provided by God, through Christ, for the health and salvation of those that have made themselves objects of wrath by the breach of the law of works; this is manifest by all the Scripture. But how doth the soul carry it towards God, when He offereth to deal with it under and by this dispensation of grace? Why, just as it carried it under the law of works: they oppose, they contradict, they blaspheme, and forbid that this gospel be mentioned (Ac 13:45; 27:6). What higher affront or contempt can be offered to God, and what greater disdain can be shown against the gospel? (2Ti 2:25; 1Th 2:14-16). Yet all this the poor soul, to its own wrong, offereth against the way of its own salvation; as it is said in the Word of truth, `He that sinneth against me wrongeth his own soul: all they that hate Me love death' (Pr 8:36).

But, further, the soul despiseth not the gospel in that revelation of it only, but the great and chief bringer thereof, with the manner, also, of His bringing of it. The Bringer, the great Bringer of the gospel, is the good Lord Jesus Christ himself; He 'came and preached peace to them that the law proclaimed war against; became and preached peace to them that were afar off, and to them that were nigh' (Eph 2:17). And it is worth your observation to take notice how He came, and that was, and still is, as He is set forth in the word of the gospel; to wit, first, as making peace Himself to God for us in and by the blood of His cross; and then, as bearing (as set out by the gospel) the very characters of His sufferings before our faces in every tender of the gospel of His grace unto us. And to touch a little upon the dress in which, by the gospel, Christ presenteth unto us while He offereth unto sinful souls His peace, by the tenders thereof.

1. He is set forth as born for us, to save our souls (Isa 9:6; Lu 2:9-12).

2. He is set forth before us as bearing of our sins for us, and suffering God's wrath for us (1Co 15:3; Ga 3:13).

3. He is set forth before us as fulfilling the law for us, and as bringing of everlasting righteousness to us for our covering (Ro 5:4; Da 9:24).

Again, as to the manner of His working out the salvation of sinners for them, that they might have peace and joy, and heaven and glory, for ever.

(1.) He is set forth as sweating of blood while He was in His agony, wrestling with the thoughts of death, which He was to suffer for our sins, that He might save the soul (Lu 22:44).

(2.) He is set forth as crying, weeping, and mourning under the lashes of justice that He put Himself under, and was willing to bear for our sins (Heb 5:7).

(3.) He is set forth as betrayed, apprehended, condemned, spit on, scourged, buffeted, mocked, crowned with thorns, crucified, pierced with nails and a spear, to save the soul from being betrayed by the devil and sin; to save it from being apprehended by justice, and condemned by the law; to save it from being spit on, in a way of contempt, by holiness; to save it from being scourged with guilt of sins, as with scorpions; to save it from being continually buffeted by its own conscience; to save it from being mocked at by God; to save it from being crowned with ignominy and shame for ever; to save it from dying the second death; to save it from wounds and grief for ever.

Dost thou understand me, sinful soul? He wrestled with justice, that thou mightest have rest; He wept and mourned, that thou mightest laugh and rejoice; He was betrayed, that thou mightest go free; was apprehended, that thou mightest escape; He was condemned, that thou mightest be justified; and was killed, that thou mightest live; He wore a crown of thorns, that thou mightest wear a crown of glory; and was nailed to the cross, with His arms wide open, to show with what freeness all His merits shall be bestowed on the coming soul; and how heartily He will receive it into His bosom?

Further, all this He did of mere good will, and offereth the benefit thereof unto thee freely; yea, He cometh unto thee, in the word of the gospel, with the blood running down from His head upon His face, with His tears abiding upon His cheeks, with the holes as fresh in His hands and His feet, and as with the blood still bubbling out of His side, to pray thee to accept of the benefit, and to be reconciled to God thereby (2Co 5). But what saith the sinful soul to this? I do not ask what he saith with his lips, for he will assuredly flatter God with his mouth; but what doth his actions and carriages declare as to his acceptance of this incomparable benefit? For 'a wicked man speaketh with his feet, and teacheth with his fingers' (Prow 6:12,13). With his feet—that is, by the way he goeth: and with his fingers—that is, by his acts and doings. So, then, what saith he by his goings, by his sets and doings, unto this incomparable benefit, thus brought unto him from the Father, by His only Son, Jesus Christ? What saith he? Why, he saith that he doth not at all regard this Christ, nor value the grace thus tendered unto him in the gospel.

1. He saith, that he regardeth not this Christ, that he seeth nothing in Him why he should admit Him to be entertained in his affections. Therefore the prophet, speaking in the person of sinners, says, 'He (Christ) hath no form nor comeliness, and when we shall see Him, there is no beauty that we should desire Him;' and then adds, to show what he meaneth by his thus speaking, saying, 'he is despised and rejected of men' (Isa 53:2-3). All this is spoken with reference to His person, and it was eminently fulfilled upon Him in the days of His flesh, when He was hated, maligned, and persecuted to death by sinners; and is still fulfilled in the souls of sinners, in that they cannot abide to think of Him with thoughts that have a tendency in them to separate them and their lusts asunder, and to the making of them to embrace Him for their darling, and the taking up of their cross to follow Him. All this sinners speak out with loud voices, in that they stop their ears and shut their eyes as to Him, but open them wide and hearken diligently to anything that pleaseth the flesh, and that is a nursery to sin. But,

2. As they despise, and reject, and do not regard His person, so they do not value the grace that He tendereth unto them by the gospel; this is plain by that indifferency of spirit that always attends them when, at any time, they hear thereof, or when it is presented unto them.

I may safely say, that the most of men who are concerned in a trade, will be more vigilant in dealing with a twelvepenny customer than they will be with Christ when He comes to make unto them, by the gospel, a tender of the incomparable grace of God. Hence they are called fools, because a price is put into their hands to get wisdom, and they have no heart unto it (Prow 18:16). And hence, again, it is that that bitter complaint is made, 'But My people would not hearken to my voice; and Israel would none of Me' (Ps 81:11). Now, these things being found, as practised by the souls of sinners, must needs, after a wonderful manner, provoke; wherefore, no marvel that the heavens are bid to be astonished at this, and that damnation shall seize upon the soul for this (Jer 2).

And indeed, the soul that doth thus by practice, though with his mouth—as who doth not? he shall show much love, he doth, interpretatively, say these things:—

(1.) That he loveth sin better than grace, and darkness better than light, even as our Lord Jesus Christ hath showed, 'And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness more than light (as is manifest), because their deeds were evil' (Joh 3:19).

(2.) They do, also, by their thus rejecting of Christ and grace, say, that for what the law can do to them, they value it not; they regard not its thundering threatenings, nor will they shrink when they come to endure the execution thereof; wherefore God, to deter them from such bold and desperate ways, that do, interpretatively, fully declare that they make such desperate conclusions, insinuates that the burden of the curse thereof is intolerable, saying, 'Can thine heart endure, or can thine hands be strong, in the days that I shall deal with thee? I, the Lord, have spoken it, and will do it' (Eze 22:14).

(3.) Yea, by their thus doing, they do as good as say that they will run the hazard of a sentence of death at the day of judgment, and that they will, in the meantime, join issue, and stand a trial at that day with the great and terrible God. What else means their not hearkening to Him, their despising of His Son, and the rejecting of His grace; yea I say again, what else means their slighting of the curse of the law, and their choosing to abide in their sins till the day of death and judgment? And thus I have showed you the causes of the loss of the soul; and, assuredly, these things are no fables.

Objection. But some may object, and say, But you denounce all against the soul; the soul, as if the body were in no fault at all; or, as if there were no punishment assigned for the body.

Answer 1. The soul must be the part punished, because the soul is that which sins. `Every sin that a man doeth is without the body,' fornication or adultery excepted (1Co 6:18). 'Is without the body; that is, as to the wilily inventing, contriving, and finding out ways to bring the motions of sin into action. For, alas! What can the body do as to these? It is in a manner wholly passive; yea, altogether as to the lusting and purposing to do the wickedness, excepting the sin before excepted; ay, and not excepting that, as to the rise of that sin; for even that, with all the rest, ariseth and proceedeth out of the heart—the soul; 'For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: all these evil things come from within, and defile the man' (Mr 7:21-23). That is, the outward man. But a difference must always be put betwixt defiling and being defiled, that which defileth being the worst; not but that the body shall have its share of judgment, for body and soul must be destroyed in hell (Lu 12:4-5; Mt 10:28). The body as the instrument, the soul as the actor; but oh! the soul, the soul, the soul is the sinner; and, therefore, the soul, as the principal, must be punished.

And that God's indignation burneth most against the soul appears in that death hath seized upon every soul already; for the Scripture saith, that every natural or unconverted man is dead (Eph 2:1-3). Dead! How? Is his body dead? No, verily; his body liveth, but his soul is dead (1Ti 5:6). Dead! But with what death? Dead to God, and to all things gospelly good, by reason of that benumbing, stupifying, and senselessness, that, by God's just judgment for and by sin, hath swallowed up the soul. Yea, if you observe, you shall see that the soul goeth first, or before, in punishment, not only by what has been said already, in that the soul is first made a partaker of death, but in that God first deals with the soul by convictions, yea, and terrors, perhaps, while the body is well; or, in that He giveth up the soul to judicial hardness and further blindness, while He leaveth the body to do His office in the world; yea, and also when the day of death and dissolution is come, the body is spared, while the soul is tormented in unutterable torment in hell. And so, I say, it shall be spared, and the clods of the valley shall be sweet unto it, while the soul mourneth in hell for sin. It is true, at the day of judgment, because that is the last and final judgment of God on men, then the body and soul shall be re-united, or joined together again, and shall then, together, partake of that recompence for their wickedness which is meet. When I say, the body is spared and the soul tormented, I mean not that the body is not then, at death, made to partake of the wages of sin, 'for the wages of sin is death' (Ro 3:23). But I mean, the body partakes then but of temporal death, which, as to sense and feeling, is sometimes over presently, and then resteth in the grave, while the soul is tormenting in hell. Yea, and why is death suffered to slay the body? I dare say, not chiefly for that the indignation of God most burneth against the body; but the body being the house for the soul in this world, God even pulls down this body, that the soul may be stript naked, and being stript, may be carried to prison, to the place where damned souls are, there to suffer in the beginning of suffering, that punishment that will be endless.

Answer 2. Therefore, the soul must be the part most sorely punished, because justice must be distributed with equity. God is a God of knowledge and judgment; by Him actions are weighed; actions in order to judgment (1Sa 2). Now, by weighing of actions, since He finds the soul to have the deepest hand in sin; and He says that He hath so, of equity the soul is to bear the burden of punishment. 'Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right' in His famous distributing of judgment? (Ge 18:25). 'He will not lay upon man more than right, that he should enter into judgment with God' (Job 34:23). The soul, since deepest in sin, shall also be deepest in punishment. 'Shall one man sin,' said Moses, 'and wilt Thou be wroth with all the congregation?' (Nu 1:22). He pleads here for equity in God's distributing of judgment; yea, and so exact is God in the distribution thereof, that He will not punish heathens so as He will punish Jews; wherefore He saith , 'Of the Jew first,' or chiefly, 'and also of the Gentile' (Ro 2:9). Yea, in hell He has prepared several degrees of punishment for the several sorts or degrees of offenders; And some `shall receive greater damnation' (Lu 22:47). And will it not be unmeet for us to think, since God is so elect in all His doings, that He will, without His weights and measures, give to soul and body, as I may say, carelessly, not severally, their punishments, according to the desert and merit of each?

Answer 3. The punishment of the soul in hell must needs, to be sure, as to degree, differ from the punishment of the body there. When I say, differ, I mean, must needs be greater, whether the body be punished with the same fire with the soul, or fire of another nature. If it be punished with the same fire, yet not in the same way; for the fire of guilt, with the apprehensions of indignation and wrath, are most properly felt and apprehended by the soul, and by the body by virtue of its union with the soul; and so felt by the body, if not only, yet, I think, mostly, by way of sympathy with the soul; and the cause, we say, is worse than the disease; and if the wrath of God, and the apprehensions of it, as discharging itself for sin, and the breach of the law, be that with which the soul is punished, as sure it is: then the body is punished by the effects, or by those influences that the soul, in its torments, has upon the body, by virtue of that great oneness and union that is between them.

But if there be a punishment prepared for the body distinct in kind from that which is prepared for the soul, yet it must be a punishment inferior to that which is prepared for the soul; not that the soul and body shall be severed, but being made of things distinct, their punishments will be by that which is most suitable to each. I say, it must be inferior, because nothing can be so hot, so tormenting, so intolerably insupportable, as the quickest apprehensions of, and the immediate sinking under, that guilt and indignation that is proportional to the offence. Should all the wood, and brimstone, and combustible matter on earth be gathered together for the tormenting of one body, yet that cannot yield that torment to that which the sense of guilt and burning-hot application of the indignation of God will do to the soul; yea, suppose the fire wherewith the body is tormented in hell should be seven times hotter than any of our fire; yea, suppose it, again, to be seven times hotter than that which is seven times hotter than ours, yet it must, suppose it to be but created fire, be infinitely short, as to tormenting operations, of the unspeakable wrath of God, when in the heat thereof He applieth it to, and Both punish the soul for sin in hell therewith. So, then, whether the body be tormented with the same fire wherewith the soul is tormented, or whether the fire be of another kind, yet it is not possible that it should bear the same punishment as to degree, because, or for the causes I have showed. Nor, indeed, is it meet it should, because the body has not sinned so, so grievously as the soul has done; and God proportioneth the punishment suitable to the offence.

Answer 4. With the soul by itself are the most quick and suitable apprehensions of God and His wrath; wherefore, that must needs be made partaker of the sorest punishment in hell; it is the soul that now is the most subtle at discerning, and it is the soul that will be so; then conscience, memory, and understanding, and mind; these will be the seat of torment, since the understanding will let wrath immediately upon these, from what it apprehends of that wrath; conscience will let the wrath of God immediately upon these, from what it fearfully feels of that wrath; the memory will then, as a vessel, receive and retain up to the brim of this wrath, even as it receiveth by the understanding and conscience, the cause of this wrath, and considers the durableness of it; so, then, the soul is the seat and the receiver of wrath, even as it was the receiver and seat of sin; here, then, is sin and wrath upon the soul, the soul in the body, and so soul and body tormented in hell fire.

Answer 5. The soul will be most tormented, because strongest; the biggest burden must lie upon the strongest part, especially since, also, it is made capable of it by its sin. The soul must bear its own punishment, and a great part of the body's too, forasmuch as, so far as apprehension goes, the soul will be quicker at the work than the body. True, the body, by the help of the soul, will see too, but the soul will see yet abundantly further. And good reason that the soul should bear part of the punishment of the body, because it was through its allurements that the body yielded to help the soul to sin. The devil presented sin, the soul took it by the body, and now devil, and soul, and body, and all must be lost, cast away; that is, damned in hell for sin; but the soul must be the burden bearer.

Objection. But you say, Doth not this give encouragement to sinners to give way to the body to be in all its members loose, and vain, and wicked, as instruments to sin?

Answer. No; forasmuch as the body shall also have his share in punishment. For though I have said the soul shall have more punishment than the body, yet I have not said, that the body shall at all be eased by that; no, the body will have its due. And for the better making out of my answer further, consider of these following particulars:—

(1.) The body will be the vessel to hold the tormented soul in; this will be something; therefore man, damned man, is called a vessel of wrath, a vessel, and that in both body and soul (Ro 9:22). The soul receiveth wrath unto itself, and the body holdeth that soul that has thus received, and is tormented with, the wrath of God. Now the body being a vessel to hold this soul that is thus possessed with the wrath of God, must needs itself be afflicted and tormented with that torment, because of its union with the body; therefore the Holy Ghost saith, 'His flesh upon him shall have pain, and his soul within him shall mourn' (Job 14:22). Both shall have their torment and misery, for that both joined hand in hand in sin, the soul to bring it to the birth, and the body to midwife it into the world; therefore it saith again, with reference to the body, 'Let the curse come into his bowels like water, and like oil into his bones.' Let it be unto him as the garment which covereth him, and for a girdle, etc. (Ps 109:17-19). The body, then, will be tormented as well as the soul, by being a vessel to hold that soul that is now possessed and distressed with the unspeakable wrath and indignation of the Almighty God, and this will be a great deal, if you consider,

(2.) That the body, as a body, will, by reason of its union with the soul, be as sensible, and so as capable in its kind, to receive correction and torment as ever, nay, I think more; for if the quickness of the soul giveth quickness of sense to the body, as in some case, at least, I am apt to think it Both, then forasmuch as the soul will now be most quick, most sharp in apprehension, so the body, by reason of union and sympathy with the soul, will be most quick and most sharp as to sense. Indeed, if the body should not receive and retain sense, yea, all its senses, by reason of its being a vessel to hold the soul, the torment of the soul could not as torment, be ministered to the body, no more than the fire tormented the king of Babylon's furnace (Da 3). Or than the king of Moab's lime kiln was afflicted because the king of Edom's bones were burnt therein. But now the body has received again its senses, now therefore it must, yea, it cannot choose but must feel that wrath of God that is let out, yea, poured out like floods of water into the soul. 27 Remember also, that besides what the body receiveth from the soul by reason of its union and sympathy therewith, there is a punishment, and instruments of punishment, though I will not pretend to tell you exactly what it is, prepared for the body for its joining with the soul in sin, therewith to be punished; a punishment, I say, that shall fall immediately upon the body, and that such an one as will most fitly suit with the nature of the body, as wrath and guilt do most fitly suit the nature of the soul.

27 Knowing the certainty that this wrath to the uttermost will be poured out, our blessed Lord exhorts all to 'fear God, who is able to destroy both body and soul in hell.' In that doleful pit, the soul, re-united with the body, will suffer under the outpourings of Divine wrath.—Mason.

(3.) Add to these, the durable condition that the body in this state is now in with the soul. Time was when the soul died, and the body lived, and the soul was tormented while the body slept and rested in the dust; but now these things are past; for at the day of judgment, as I said, these two shall be re-united, and that which once did separate them, be destroyed; then of necessity they must abide together, and, as together, abide the punishment prepared for them; and this will greaten the torment of the body.

Death was once the wages of sin, and a grievous curse; but might the damned meet with it in hell, they would count it a mercy, because it would separate soul and body, and not only so, but take away all sense from the body, and make it incapable of suffering torment; yea, I will add, and by that means give the soul some ease; for without doubt, as the torments of the soul extend themselves to the body, so the torments of the body extend themselves to the soul; nor can it be otherwise, because of union and sympathy. But death, natural death, shall be destroyed, and there shall be no more natural death, no, not in hell (1Co 15:26). And now it shall happen to men, as it hath done in less and inferior judgments. They shall seek death, and desire to die, and death shall not be found by them (Job 3:21; Re 9:6). Thus therefore they must abide together; death that used to separate them asunder is now slain-1. Because it was an enemy in keeping Christ's body in the grave; and, 2. Because a friend to carnal men in that, though it was a punishment in itself, yet while it lasted and had dominion over the body of the wicked, it hindered them of that great and just judgment which for sin was due unto them; and this is the third discovery of the manner and way of punishing of the body. But,

(4.) There will then be such things to be seen and heard, which the eye and the ear—to say no more than has been said of the sense of feeling—will see and hear, that will greatly aggravate the punishment of the body in hell; for though the eye is the window, and the ear a door for the soul to look out at, and also to receive in by, yet whatever goeth in at the ear or the eye leaves influence upon the body, whether it be that which the soul delighteth in, or that which the soul abhorreth; for as the eye affecteth the heart, or soul (La 3:51) so the eye and ear, by hearing and beholding, Both ofttimes afflict the body. 'When I heard, my belly trembled—rottenness entered into my bones.' (Hab 3:16).

Now, I say, as the body after its resurrection, to damnation, to everlasting shame and contempt (Da 12:2; Joh 5:29) will receive all its senses again, so it will have matter to exercise them upon, not only to the letting into the soul those aggravations which they by hearing, feeling, and seeing are capable to let in thither, but, I say, they will have matter and things to exercise themselves upon for the helping forward of the torment of the body. Under temporal judgments of old, the body as well as the soul had no ease, day or night, and that not only by reason of what was felt, but by reason of what was heard and seen. 'In the morning thou shalt say, Would God it were even! And at even thou shalt say, Would God it were morning!' (De 28:67). 1. Tor the fear of thine heart, wherewith thou shalt fear;' 2. 'And for the sight of thine eyes, which thou shalt see.' Nay, He tells them a little before, that they should be mad for the sight of their eyes which they should see (De 28:34).

See! why, what shall they see? Why, themselves in hell, with others like them; and this will be a torment to their body. There is bodily torment, as I said, ministered to the body by the senses of the body. What think you? If a man saw himself in prison, in irons, upon the ladder, with the rope about his neck, would not this be distress to the body, as well as to the mind? To the body, doubtless. Witness the heavy looks, the shaking legs, trembling knees, pale face, and beating and aching heart;28 how much more, then, when men shall see themselves in the most dreadful place; it is a fearful place, doubtless, to all to behold themselves in that shall come thither (Lu 16:28).  

28 Bunyan probably here refers to his own experience when he was in prison, and was threatened by the judge to be hung for not going to parish church. 'I thought with myself, if I should make a scrabbling shift to clamber up the ladder, yet I should, either with quaking or other symptoms of faintings, give occasion to the enemy to reproach the way of God. I was ashamed to die with a pale face and tottering knees in such a cause as this.'— Grace Abounding, No. 334.—Ed.

Again; they shall see others there, and shall by them see themselves. There is an art by which a man may make his neighbour look so ghastly, that he shall fright himself by looking on him, especially when he thinks of himself, that he is of the same show also. It is said concerning men at the downfall of Babylon, that they shall be amazed one at another, for `their faces shall be as flames' (Isa 13:8). And what if one should say, that even as it is with a house set on fire within, where the flame ascends out at the chimneys, out at the windows, and the smoke out at every chink and crevice that it can find, so it will be with the damned in hell. That soul will breathe hell fire and smoke, and coals will seem to hang upon its burning lips; yea, the face, eyes, and ears will seem all to be chimneys and vents for the flame and smoke of the burning which God by His breath hath kindled therein, and upon them, which will be beheld one in another, to the great torment and distress of each other.

What shall I say? Here will be seen devils, and here will be heard howlings and mournings; here will the soul see itself at an infinite distance from God; yea, the body will see it too. In a word, who knows the power of God's wrath, the weight of sin, the torments of hell, and the length of eternity? If none, then none can tell, when they have said what they can, the intolerableness of the torments that will swallow up the soul, the lost soul, when it is cast away by God, and from Him, into outer darkness for sin. But this much for the cause of the loss of the soul.


I now come to the second doctrine that I gathered from the words—namely, that how unconcerned and careless soever some now be about the loss or salvation of their souls, the day is coming, but it will then be too late, when men will be willing, had they never so much, to give it all in exchange for their souls. There are four things in the words that do prove this doctrine.

1. There is an intimation of life and sense in the man that has lost, and that after he has lost, his soul in hell— 'Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?' These words are by no means applicable to the man that has no life or sense; for he that is dead according to our common acceptation of death, that is, deprived of life and sense, would not give twopence to change his state; therefore the words do intimate that the man is yet alive and sensible. Now were a man alive and sensible, though he was in none other place than the grave, there to be confined, while others are at liberty, what would he give in exchange for his place, and to be rid of that for a better! but how much more to be delivered from hell, the present place and state of his soul!

2. There is in the text an intimation of a sense of torment 'Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?' I am tormented in this flame. Torment, then, the soul is sensible of, and that there is a place of ease and peace. And from the sense and feeling of torment, he would give, yea, what would he not give, in exchange for his soul?

3. There is in the text an intimation of the intolerableness of the torment, because that it supposeth that the man whose soul is swallowed up therewith would give all, were his all never so great, in exchange for his soul.

4. There is yet in the text an intimation that the soul is sensible of the lastingness of the punishment, or else the question rather argues a man unwary than considerate in his offering, as is supposed by Christ, so largely, his all in exchange for his soul.

But we will, in this manner, proceed no further, but take it for granted that the doctrine is good; wherefore I shall next inquire after what is contained in this truth. And,

FIRST, That God has undertaken, and will accomplish, the breaking of the spirits of all the world, either by His grace and mercy to salvation, or by His justice and severity to damnation. The damned soul under consideration is certainly supposed, as by the doctrine, so by the text, to be utterly careless, and without regard of salvation, so long as the acceptable time did last, and as the white flag, that signifies terms of peace, did hang out; and, therefore, it is said to be lost; but, behold, now it is careful, but now it is solicitous, but now, `what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?' He of whom you read in the gospel, that could tend to do nothing in the days of the gospel but to find out how to be clothed in purple and fine linen, and to fare sumptuously every day, was by God brought so down, and laid so low at last, that he could crouch, and cringe, and beg for one small drop of water to cool his tongue—a thing, that but a little before he would have thought scorn to have done, when he also thought scorn to stoop to the grace and mercy of the gospel (Lu 16:19,24). But God was resolved to break his spirit, and the pride of his heart, and to humble his lofty looks, if not by His mercy, yet by His justice; if not by His grace, yet by hell fire.

This he also threatens to bring upon the fool in the Proverbs— 'They shall call, they shall seek, they shall cry' (Prow 1:22-32). Who shall do so? The answer is, They that sometimes scorned either to seek, or call, or cry; they that stopped their ears, that pulled away their shoulders, and that refused to seek, or call, or cry to God for mercy (Zec 7:11-13).

Sinner, careless sinner, didst thou take notice of this first inference that I have drawn from my second doctrine? If thou didst, yet read it again: it is this, 'God has undertaken, and will accomplish, the breaking of the spirits of all the world, either by His grace and mercy unto salvation, or by His justice and severity to damnation.' The reason for this is this: God is resolved to have the mastery, He is resolved to have the victory. 'Who would set the briers and thorns against Me in battle? I would go through them, I would burn them together' (Isa 27:4). I will march against them. God is merciful, and is come forth into the world by His Son, tendering of grace unto sinners by the gospel, and would willingly make a conquest over them for their good by His mercy. Now He being come out, sinners like briars and thorns do set themselves against Him, and will have none of His mercy. Well, but what says God? Saith He, Then I will march on, I will go through them, and burn them together. I am resolved to have the mastery one way or another; if they will not bend to Me, and accept of My mercy in the gospel, I will bend them and break them by My justice in hell fire. They say they will not bend; I say they shall; now they 'shall know whose words shall stand, Mine or theirs.' (Jer 44:308). Wherefore the apostle, when he saw that some of the Corinthians began to be unruly, and to do those things that did begin to hazard them, saith, 'Do we provoke the Lord to jealousy? are we stronger than He?' (1Co 5:13). As who should say, My brethren, are you aware what you do? do you not understand that God is resolved to have the mastery one way or another? and are you stronger than He? if not, tremble before Him, or He will certainly have you under His feet— 'I will tread them in Mine anger, and trample them in My fury' (Isa 63:3). Thus He speaks of them that set themselves against Him; therefore beware. Now the reason of this resolution of God, it flows from a determination in Him to make all His sayings good, and to verify them on the consciences of sinners. And since the incredulous world will not believe now, and fly from wrath, they shall shortly believe and cry under it; since they will not now credit the Word, before they see, unto salvation, they shall be made to credit it by sense and feeling unto damnation.

SECOND, The second inference that I draw from my second doctrine is this: 'That it is, and will be the lot of some to bow and break before God, too late, or when it is too late.' God is resolved, as I said. to have the mastery, and that not only in a way of dominion and lordship in general, for that He has now, but He is resolved to master, that is, to break the spirit of the world, to make all men cringe and crouch unto Him, even those that now say, 'There is no God,' (Ps 14:1); or if there be, yet, 'What is the Almighty, that we should serve Him?' (Job 21:15; Mal 3:14).

This is little thought of by those that now harden their hearts in wickedness, and that turn their spirit against God; but this they shall think of, this they must think of, this God will make them think of in that day, at which day they also now do mock and deride, that the Scripture might be fulfilled upon them (2Pe 3:3-4). And, I say, they shall think then of those things, and break at heart, and melt under the hand, and power, and majesty of the Almighty; for, 'As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to Me; and every tongue shall confess to God' (Isa 45:23; Ro 14:11). And again, 'The nations shall see, and be confounded at all their might; they shall lay their hand upon their mouth, their ears shall be deaf. They shall lick the dust like a serpent, they shall move out of their holes like worms,' or creeping things, 'of the earth; they shall be afraid of the Lord our God, and shall fear because of Thee' (Mic 7:16-17).

For then they, will they nill they, shall have to do with God, though not with Him as merciful, or as one that may be intreated; yet with Him all just, and as devouring fire (Heb 7:28). Yea, they shall see that face, and hear that voice, from whom and from which the heavens and the earth will fly away, and find no place of stay. And by this appearance, and by such words of His mouth as He then will speak to them, they shall begin to tremble, and call for the rocks to fall upon them and cover them; for if these things will happen at the execution of inferior judgments, what will be done, what effects will the last, most dreadful, and eternal judgment, have upon men's souls?

Hence you find, that at the very first appearance of Jesus Christ, the whole world begins to mourn and lament— 'Every eye shall see Him, and they also which pierced Him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of Him' (Re 1:7). And, therefore, you also find them to stand at the door and knock, saying, `Lord, Lord, open unto us' (Lu 14:25; Mt 25:11). Moreover, you find them also desiring, yea, also so humble in their desires as to be content with the least degree of mercy—one drop, one drop upon the tip of one's finger. What stooping, what condescension, what humility is here! All, and every one of those passages declare, that the hand of God is upon them, and that the Almighty has got the mastery of them, has conquered them, broke the pride of their power, and laid them low, and made them cringe and crouch unto him, bending the knee, and craving of kindness. Thus, then, will God bow, and bend, and break them; yea, make them bow, and bend, and break before Him. And hence also it is they will weep, and mourn, and gnash their teeth, and cry, and repent that ever they have been so foolish, so wicked, so traitorous to their souls, such enemies of their own eternal happiness, as to stand out in the day of their visitation in a way of rebellion against the Lord.

But here is their hard hap, their dismal lot and portion, that all these things must be when it is too late. It is, and will be, the lot and hap of these to bow, bend, and break too late (Mt 25). You read they come weeping and mourning, and with tears; they knock and they cry for mercy; but what did tears avail? Why, nothing; for the door was shut. He answered and said, 'I know not whence you are.' But they repeat and renew their suit, saying, 'We have eaten and drunk in Thy presence, and Thou hast taught in our streets.' What now? Why, He returns upon them His first answer the second time, saying, 'I know not whence ye are; depart from Me, all ye workers of iniquity;' then He concludes, 'There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when ye shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrust out' (Lu 13:26,28). They come weeping, and go weeping away. They come to Him weeping, for they saw that He had conquered them; but they departed weeping, for they saw that He would damn them; yet, as we read in another place, they were very loath to go from Him, by their reasoning and expostulating with Him—`Lord, when saw we Thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto Thee?' But all would not do; here is no place for change of mind— 'These shall go away into everlasting punishment; but the righteous into life eternal' (Mt 25:44-46). And now what would a man give in exchange for his soul? So that, as I said before, all is too late; they mourn too late, they repent too late, they pray too late, and seek to make an exchange for their soul too late. 'Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?'

Two or three things there may yet be gathered from these words; I mean, as to the desires of them that have lost their souls, to make for them an exchange; 'What shall a man give in exchange?'—what shall, what would, yea, what would not a man, if he had it, give in exchange for his soul?

First, What would not a man—I mean, a man that is in the condition that is by the text supposed some men are and will be in—give in exchange to have another man's virtue instead of their own vices? 'Let me die the death of the righteous;' let my soul be in the state of the soul of the righteous—that is, in reference to his virtues, when I die, 'and let my last end be like his' (Nu 23:10). It is a sport now to some to taunt, and squib, and deride at other men's virtues; but the day is coming when their minds will be changed, and when they shall be made to count those that have done those righteous actions and duties which they have scoffed at, the only blessed men; yea, they shall wish their soul in the blessed possession of those graces and virtues, that those whom they hated were accompanied with, and would, if they had it, give a whole world for this change; but it will not now do, it is now too late. What then shall a man give in exchange for his soul? And this is more than intimated in that 25th of Matthew, named before: for you find by that text how loath they were, or will be, to be counted for unrighteous people— 'Lord,' say they, 'when did we see thee an hungred, or athirst, naked, or sick, and did not minister unto thee?' Now they are not willing to be of the number of the wicked, though hereto-fore the ways of the righteous were an abomination to them. But, alas! they are before a just God, a just Judge, a Judge that will give every one according to their ways; therefore, 'Woe unto (the soul of) the wicked now, it shall be ill with him, for the reward of his hands shall be given him' (Isa 3:11). Thus, therefore, he is locked up as to this; he cannot now change his vice for virtues, nor put himself nor his soul in the stead of the soul of the saved; so that it still, and will, for ever abide a question unresolved,' Or, what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?' I do not doubt but that a man's state may be such in this world, that if he had it he would give thousands of gold to be as innocent and guiltless in the judgment of the law of the land as is the state of such or such, heartily wishing that himself was not that he, that he is; how much more then will men wish thus when they stand ready to receive the last, their eternal judgment. 'But what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?'

Second, As they would, for the salvation of their souls, be glad to change away their vices for the virtues, their sins for the good deeds of others; so what would they not give to change places now, or to remove from where now they are, into paradise, into Abraham's bosom! But neither shall this be admitted; the righteous must have their inheritance to themselves—' Neither,' said Abraham, 'can they pass to us, that would come from thence,' (Lu 16:26); neither can they dwell in heaven that would come from hell.

They then that have lost, or shall lose their souls are bound to their place, as well as to their sins. When Judas went to hell, he went to his home, 'to his own place' (Ac 1:25). And when the righteous go hence, they also go home to their house, to their own place; for the kingdom of heaven is prepared for them (Mt 25:34). Between heaven and hell 'there is a great gulf fixed' (Luke 26:26). That is a strange passage: 'There is a great gulf fixed.' What this gulf is, and how impassable, they that shall lose their souls will know to their woe; because it is fixed there where it is, on purpose to keep them in their tormenting place, so that they that would pass from hell to heaven cannot. But, I say, 'Would they not change places? would they not have a more comfortable house and home for their souls?' Yes, verily, the text supposes it, and the 16th of Luke affirms it; yea, and could they purchase for their souls a habitation among the righteous, would they not? Yes, they would give all the world to such a change. What shall, what shall not, a man, if he had it, if it would answer his design, give in exchange for his soul?

Third, As the damned would change their own vices for virtues, and the place where they are for that into which they shall not come, so what would they give for a change of condition? Yea, if an absolute change may not be obtained, yet what would they give for the least degree of mitigation of that torment, which now they know will without any intermission be, and that for ever and ever. `Tribulation and anguish, indignation and wrath' (Ro 2:8-9), the gnawing worm, and everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of His power, cannot be borne but with great horror and grief (2Th 1:7-10). No marvel, then, if these poor creatures would, for ease for their souls, be glad to change their conditions. Change!—with whom? with an angel, with a saint; ay, with a dog or a toad;29 for they mourn not, they weep not, nor do they bear indignation of wrath; they are as if they had not been; only the sinful soul abides in its sins, in the place designed for lost souls, and in the condition that wrath and indignation for sin and transgression hath decreed them to abide for ever. And this brings me to the conclusion, which is, 'that seeing the ungodly do seek good things too late,' therefore, notwithstanding their seeking, they must still abide in their place, their sins, and their torment— Tor what can a man give in exchange for his soul?' Therefore, God saith, that they there must still abide and dwell, no exchange can be made. 'This shall ye have of Mine hand, ye shall lie down in sorrow;' they shall lie down in it, they shall make their bed there, there they shall lie (Isa 50:11; Eze 32:25-27). And this is the bitter pill that they must swallow down at the last; for, after all their tears, their sorrows, their mournings, their repentings, their wishings and woundings, and all their inventings, and desires to change their state for a better, they must 'lie down in sorrow.' The poor condemned man that is upon the ladder or scaffold has, if one knew them, many a long wish and long desire that he might come down again alive, or that his condition was as one of the spectators that are not condemned and brought thither to be executed as he. How carefully also doth he look with his failing eyes, to see if some comes not from the king with a pardon for him, all the while endeavouring to fumble away as well as he can, and to prolong the minute of his execution! But at last, when he has looked, when he has wished, when he has desired, and done whatever he can, the blow with the axe, or turn with the ladder, is his lot, so he goes off the scaffold, so he goes from among men; and thus it will be with those that we have under consideration; when all comes to all, and they have said, and wished, and done what they can, the judgment must not be reversed—they must `lie down in sorrow.'

29 This wish has been felt while in a desponding state, under the terrors of the law, and a fearful looking for of fiery indignation. Thus Bunyan says, 'I blessed the condition of the dog and toad, and counted the estate of everything that God had made far better than this dreadful state of mine.' Grace Abounding, No. 104.—Ed.

They must, or shall lie down! Of old, when a man was to be chastised for his fault, he was to lie down to receive his stripes; so here, saith the Lord, they shall lie down—'And it shall be, if the wicked man be worthy to be beaten, that the judge shall cause him to lie down, and to be beaten before his face' (De 25:2). And this lying down was to be his lot after he had pleaded for himself what be could—and the judge shall cause him to be beaten before his face, while he is present to behold the execution of judgment; and thus it shall be at the end of the world; the wicked shall lie down, and shall be beaten with many stripes in the presence of Christ, 'and in the presence of the holy angels' (2Th 1; Re 14:10). For there will be His presence, not only at the trial as Judge, but to see execution done, nay, to do it Himself by the pouring out, like a river, His wrath as burning brimstone upon the soul of the lost and cast away sinner.

He shall lie down! These words imply that, at last, the damned soul shall submit; for to lie down is an act that signifies submission, especially to lie down to be beaten. 'The wicked shall be silent in darkness' (1Sa 2:9). When the malefactor has said and wished all that be can, yet at last he submits, is silent, and, as it were, helps to put his head into the halter, or doth lay down his neck upon the block; so here it is said of the damned—They shall lie down in sorrow. There is also a place that saith, 'These shall go away into everlasting punishment' (Mt 25:46). To go, to go to punishment, is also an act of submission. Now, submission to punishment doth, or should, flow from full conviction of the merit of punishment; and I think it is so to be understood here— For 'every mouth shall be stopped, and all the world (of soul losers) become guilty before God' (Ro 3:4,19; Lu 13:25-28; Mt 25:46). Every mouth shall be stopped, not at the beginning of the judgment, for then they plead, and pray, and also object against the Judge; but at the end, after that by a judicial proceeding He shall have justified against them His sayings, and have overcome these His judges, then they shall submit, and also lie down in sorrow; yea, they shall go away to their punishment as those who know they deserve it; yea, they shall go away with silence.

How they shall behave themselves in hell, I will not here dispute; whether in a way of rage and blasphemy, and in rending and tearing of the name and just actions of God towards them, or whether by way of submission there; I say, though this is none of this task, yet a word or two, if you please.

Doubtless they will not be mute there; they will cry and wail, and gnash their teeth, and, perhaps, too, sometimes at God; but I do not think but that the justice that they have deserved, and the equal administration of it upon them, will, for the most part, prevail with them to rend and tear themselves, to acquit and justify God, and to add fuel to their fire, by concluding themselves in all the fault, and that they have sufficiently merited this just damnation; for it would seem strange to me that just judgment among men shall terminate in this issue, if God should not justify himself in the conscience of all the damned. But as here on earth, so He will let them know that go to hell that He hath not done without a cause, a sufficient cause, all that He hath done in damning of them (Eze 14:23).


I come now to make some use and application of the whole. And,

USE FIRST—If the soul be so excellent a thing as we have made it appear to be, and if the loss thereof be so great a loss, then here you may see who they are that are those extravagant ones; I mean, those that are such in the highest degree. Solomon tells us of 'a great waster,' and saith also, that he that is slothful in his business is brother to such an one (Pr 18:9). Who Solomon had his eye upon, or who it was that he counted so great a waster, I cannot tell; but I will challenge all the world to show me one, that for wasting and destroying, may be compared to him that for the lusts and pleasures of this life will hazard the loss of his soul. Many men will be so profuse, and will spend at that prodigal rate, that they will bring a thousand pound a year to five hundred, and five hundred to fifty, and some also will bring that fifty to less than ninepence30 but what is this to him that shall never leave losing until he has lost his soul? I have heard of some who would throw away a farm, a good estate, upon the trundling of one single bowl;31 but what is this to the casting away of the soul? Nothing can for badness be compared to sin; it is the vile thing, it cannot have a worse name than its own; it is worse than the vilest men, than the vilest of beasts; yea, sin is worse than the devil himself, for it is sin, and sin only, that hath made the devils devils; and yet for this, for this vile, this abominable thing, some men, yea, most men, will venture the loss of their soul; yea, they will mortgage, pawn, and set their souls to sale for it (Jer 44:4). Is not this a great waster? doth not this man deserve to be ranked among the extravagant ones? What think you of him who, when he tempted the wench to uncleanness, said to her, If thou wilt venture thy body, I'll venture my soul? Was not here like to be a fine bargain, think you? or was not this man like to be a gainer by so doing? This is he that prizes sin at a higher rate than he doth his immortal soul; yea, this is he that esteems a quarter of an hour's pleasure more than he fears everlasting damnation. What shall I say? This man is minded to give more to be damned, than God requires he should give to be saved; is not this an extravagant one? 'Be astonished, 0 ye heavens! at this, and be horribly afraid!' (Jer 2:9-12). Yea, let all the angels stand amazed at the unaccountable prodigality of such an one.

30 Alluding to the old proverb of bringing a noble to ninepence, and ninepence to nothing.—Ed.

31 At the popular game of nine pins—Ed.

Objection 1. But some may say, I cannot believe that God will be so severe as to cast away into hell fire an immortal soul for a little sin.

Answer. I know thou canst not believe it, for if thou couldst, thou wouldst sooner eat fire than run this hazard; and hence all they that go down to the lake of fire are called the unbelievers; and the Lord shall cut thee, that makest this objection, asunder, and shall appoint thee thy portion with such, except thou believe the gospel, and repent (Lu 12:46).

Objection 2. But surely, though God should be so angry at the beginning, it cannot in time but grieve Him to see and hear souls roaring in hell, and that for a little sin.

Answer. Whatsoever God doeth, it abideth for ever (Ec 3:14). He doth nothing in a passion, or in an angry fit; He proceedeth with sinners by the most perfect rules of justice; wherefore it would be injustice, to deliver them whom the law condemneth, yea, He would falsify His word, if after a time He should deliver them from hell, concerning whom He hath solemnly testified, that they shall be there for ever.

Objection 3. 0 but, as He is just, so He is merciful; and mercy is pitiful, and very compassionate to the afflicted.

Answer. 0, but mercy abused becomes most fearful in tormenting. Did you never read that the Lamb turned lion, and that the world will tremble at the wrath of the Lamb, and be afflicted more at the thoughts of that, than at the thoughts of anything that shall happen to them in the day when God shall call them to an account for their sins? (Re 6:16-17). The time of mercy will be then past, for now is that acceptable time, behold now is the day of salvation; the gate of mercy will then be shut, and must not be opened again; for now is that gate open, now it is open for a door of hope (2Co 6:2; Mt 25:10; Lu 13:25).

The time of showing pity and compassion will then be at an end; for that as to acting towards sinners will last but till the glass of the world is run, and when that day is past, mark what God saith shall follow, 'I will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your fear cometh; when your fear cometh as desolation, and your destruction cometh as a whirlwind; when distress and anguish cometh upon you' (Pr 1:26-27). Mark you how many pinching expressions the Lord Jesus Christ doth threaten the refusing sinner with; the sinner with, that refuseth Him now—I will laugh at him, I will mock at him. But when, Lord, wilt thou laugh at, and mock at, the impenitent? The answer is, `I will laugh at their calamities, and mock when their fear cometh; when their fear cometh as desolation, and their destruction like a whirlwind; when distress and anguish cometh upon them.'

Objection 4. But if God Almighty be at this point, and there be no moving of Him to mercy at that day, yet we can but lie in hell till we are burnt out, as the log doth at the back of the fire.

Answer. Poor besotted sinner, is this thy last shift? wilt thou comfort thyself with this? Are thy sins so dear, so sweet, so desireable, so profitable to thee, that thou wilt venture a burning in hell fire for them till thou art burnt out? Is there nothing else to be done but to make a covenant with death, and to maintain thy agreement with hell? (Isa 28:15). Is it not better to say now unto God, Do not condemn me? and to say now, Lord, be merciful to me, a sinner? Would not tears, and prayers, and cries, in this acceptable time, to God for mercy, yield thee more benefit in the next world than to lie and burn out in hell will do?

But to come more close to thee. Have not I told thee already that there is no such thing as a ceasing to be? that the damned shall never be burned out in hell? there shall be no more such death, or cause of dissolution for ever. This one thing, well considered, breaks not only the neck of that wild conceit on which thy foolish objection is built, but will break thy stubborn heart in pieces. For then it follows, that unless thou canst conquer God, or with ease endure to conflict with His sin-revenging wrath, thou wilt be made to mourn while under His everlasting wrath and indignation; and to know that there is not such a thing as a burning out in hell fire.

Objection 5. But, if this must be my case, I shall have more fellows; I shall not go to hell, nor yet burn there, alone.

Answer. What, again; is there no breaking of the league that is betwixt sin and thy soul? What, resolved to be a self-murderer, a soul murderer? what, resolved to murder thine own soul? But is there any comfort in being hanged with company? in sinking into the bottom of the sea with company? or in going to hell, in burning in hell, and in enduring the everlasting pains of hell, with company? 0 besotted wretch! But I tell thee, the more company, the more sorrow; the more fuel, the more fire. Hence the damned man that we read of in Luke desired that his brethren might be so warned and prevailed with as to be kept out of that place of torment (Lu 16:27-28). But to hasten; I come now to the second use.

USE SECOND.—Is it so? Is the soul such an excellent thing, and the loss thereof so unspeakably great? Then here you may see who are the greatest fools in the world—to wit, those who, to get the world and its preferments, will neglect God till they lose their souls. The rich man in the gospel was one of these great fools, for that he was more concerned about what he should do with his goods, than how his soul should be saved (Lu 7:16-21). Some are for venturing their souls for pleasures, and some are for venturing their souls for profits; they that venture their souls for pleasures have but little excuse for their doings; but they that venture their soul for profit seem to have much. `And they all with one consent began to make excuse;'—excuse for what? why, for the neglect of the salvation of their souls. But what was the cause of their making this excuse? Why, their profits came tumbling in. 'I have bought a piece of ground;' I have bought five yoke of oxen;' and 'I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come' (Lu 14:15-20).

Thus also it was with the fool first mentioned; his ground did bring forth plentifully, wherefore he must of necessity forget his soul, and, as he thought, all the reason of the world he should. Wherefore, he falls to crying out, What shall I do? Now, had one said, Mind the good of thy soul, man; the answer would have been ready, But where shall I bestow my goods. If it had been replied, Stay till harvest; he returns again, But I have no room where to bestow my goods. Now, tell him of praying, and he answers, he must go to building. Tell him, he should frequent sermons, and he replies, he must mind his workmen. 'He cannot deliver his soul, nor say, Is there not a lie in my right hand?' (Isa 44:20).

And see if, in the end, he did not become a fool; for though he accomplished the building of his barns, and put in there all his fruits and his goods, yet even till now his soul was empty, and void of all that was good; nor did he, in singing of that requiem which he sung to his soul at last, saying, 'Soul, take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry,' show himself ever the wiser; for, in all his labours he had rejected to get that food that indeed is meat and drink for the soul. Nay, in singing this song he did but provoke God to hasten to send to fetch his soul to hell; for so begins the conclusion of the parable— 'Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee; then whose shall those things be which thou hast provided?' So that, I say, it is the greatest folly in the world for a man, upon any pretence what ever, to neglect to make good the salvation of his soul.

There are six signs of a fool, and they do all meet in that same man that concerns not himself, and that to good purpose, for the salvation of his soul. 1. A fool has not an heart, when the price is in his hand, to get wisdom. (Pr 17:16). 2. 'It is a sport to a fool to do mischief.' and to set light by the commission of sin (Pr 10:23). 3. 'Fools despise wisdom;' `fools hate knowledge' (Pr 1:7,22). 4. ' A fool,' after restraint, `returneth to his folly' (Pr 26:11). 5. 'The way of a fool is right in his own eyes' (Pr 7:15). 6. The fool goes merrily 'to the correction of the stocks' (Pr 7:22).

I might add many more, but these six shall suffice at this time, by which it appears that the fool has no heart for the heavenly prize, yet he has to sport himself in sin; and when he despises wisdom, the way is yet right before him; yea, if he be for some time restrained from vice, he greedily turneth again thereto, and will, when he has finished his course of folly and sin in this world, go as heedlessly, as carelessly, as unconcernedly, and quietly, down the steps to hell, as the ox goeth to the slaughter-house, This is a soul fool, a fool of the biggest size; and so is every one also that layeth up treasure for himself on earth, 'and is not rich towards God' (Lu 7:21).

Objection 1. But would you not have us mind our worldly concerns?

Answer. Mind them, but mind them in their place; mind thy soul first and most; the soul is more than the body, and eternal life better than temporal; first seek the kingdom of God, and prosper in thy health and thy estate as thy soul prospers (Mt 6:33; 3Jo 2). But as it is rare to see this command obeyed, for the kingdom of God shall be thought of last, so if John's wish was to light upon, or happen to some people, they would neither have health nor wealth in this world. To prosper and be in health, as their soul prospers—what, to thrive and mend in outwards no faster? then we should have them have consumptive bodies and low estates; for are not the souls of most as unthrifty, for grace and spiritual health, as is the tree without fruit that is pulled up by the roots?

Objection 2. But would you have us sit still and do nothing?

Answer. And must you needs be upon the extremes? must you mind this world to the damning of your souls? or will you not mind your callings at all? Is there not a middle way? may you not, must you not, get your bread in a way of honest industry; that is, caring most for the next world, and so using of this as not abusing the same? (1Co 7:20-31). And then a man doth so, and never but then, when he sets this world and the next in their proper places, in his thoughts, in his esteem, and judgment, and dealeth with both accordingly (2Co 4:18). And is there not all the reason in the world for this? are not the things that are eternal best? Will temporal things make thy soul to live? or art thou none of those that should look after the salvation of their soul? (De 8:3; Mt 5:4; Heb 10:39).

Objection 3. But the most of men do that which you forbid, and why may not we?

Answer. God says, 'Thou shalt not follow a multitude to do evil' (Ex 23:2). It is not what men do, but what God commands; it is not what doth present itself unto us, but what is best, that we should choose (Mt 6:23; Lu 10:41-42). Now, 'He that refuseth instruction, despiseth his own soul;' and 'He that keepeth the commandment, keepeth his own soul' (Pr 15:32; 19:16). Make not, therefore, these foolish objections. But what saith the Word? how readest thou? That tells thee, that the pleasures of sin are but for a season; that the things that are seen are but temporal; that he is a fool that is rich in this world, and is not so towards God; 'and what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?'

Objection 4. But may one not be equally engaged for both?

Answer. A divided heart is a naughty one (Heb 10:2). 'You cannot serve God and mammon' (Mt 6:24; Lu 16:13). ' If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him,' (1Jo 2:15); and yet this objection bespeaks that thy heart is divided, that thou art a Mammonist, or that thou lowest the world. But will riches profit in the day of wrath? (Prow 11:4). Yea, are they not hurtful in the day of grace? do they not tend to surfeit the heart, and to alienate a man and his mind from the things that are better? (Lu 21:34). Why, then, wilt thou set thy heart upon that which is not? yea, then what will become of them that are so far off of minding of their souls, that they, for whole months, and years together, scarce consider whether they have souls to save?

USE THIRD.— But, thirdly, is it so? Is the soul such an excellent thing, and is the loss thereof so unspeakably great? Then this should teach people to be very careful to whom they commit the teaching and guidance of their souls.

This is a business of the greatest concern; men will be careful to whom they commit their children, who they make the executors of their will, in whose hand they trust the writing and evidences of their lands; but how much more careful should we be, and yet the most are the least of all careful, unto whom they commit the teaching and guidance of their souls. There are several sorts of soul shepherds in the world: 1. There are idol shepherds (Zec 6:5). 2. There are foolish shepherds (Zec 11:15). 3. There are shepherds that feed themselves, and not their flock (Eze 34:2) 4. There are hard-hearted and pitiless shepherds (Zec 9:3). 5. There are shepherds that, instead of healing, smite, push, and wound the diseased (Eze 34:4,21). 6. There are shepherds that 'cause their flocks to go astray' (Jer 50:6). 7. And there are shepherds that feed their flock; these are the shepherds to whom thou shouldst commit thy soul for teaching and for guidance.

Question. You may ask, How should I know those shepherds?

Answer. First, surrender up thy soul unto God, by Christ, and choose Christ to be the chief Shepherd of thy soul; and He will direct thee to His shepherds, and He will, of His mercy, set such shepherds over thee 'as shall feed thee with knowledge and understanding' (1Pe 2:25; 4:19; Joh 10:4-5; Song 1:7-8; Jer 3:15; 23:4). Before thou hast surrendered up thy soul to Christ, that He may be thy chief Shepherd, thou canst not find out, nor choose to put thy soul under the teaching and guidance of His under shepherds, for thou canst not love them; besides, they are so set forth by false shepherds, in so many ugly guises, and under so many false and scandalous dresses, that, should I direct thee to them while thou art a stranger to Christ, thou wilt count them deceivers, devourers, and wolves in sheeps' clothing, rather than the shepherds that belong to the great and chief Shepherd, who is, also, the Bishop of the soul.

Yet this I will say unto thee, take heed of that shepherd that careth not for his own soul, that walketh in ways, and Both such things, as have a direct tendency to damn his own soul; I say, take heed of such an one, come not near him, let him have nothing to do with thy soul; for if he be not faithful to that which be his own soul, be sure he will not be faithful to that which is another man's. He that feeds his own soul with ashes, will scarce feed thine with the bread of life; wherefore, take heed of such an one; and many such there are in the world (Isa 44:20). 'By their fruits you shall know them;' they are for flattering of the worst, and frowning upon the best; they are for promising of life to the profane, and for slaying the souls that God would have live; they are also men that hunt souls that fear God, but for sewing pillows under those arm holes which God would have to lean upon that which would afflict them. These be them 'that, with lies, do make the heart of the righteous sad, whom I have not made sad;' saith God; and that have `strengthened the hands of the wicked, that he shall not return from his wicked way, by promising of him life' (Eze 13:18-22).

And as thou shouldest, for thy soul's sake, choose for thyself good soul shepherds, so also, for the same reason, you should choose for yourself a good wife, a good husband, a good master, a good servant; for in all these things the soul is concerned. Abraham would not suffer Isaac to take a wife of the daughters of Canaan, (Ge 24:3); nor would David suffer a wicked servant to come into his house, or to tarry in his sight (Ps 101:7). Bad company is, also, very destructive to the soul, and so is evil communication; wherefore, be diligent to shun all these things, that thou mayest persevere in that way, the end of which will be the saving of thy soul (Pr 13:20; 1Co 15:33).

And since, under this head, I am fallen upon cautions, let me add these to those which I have presented to thee already:

Caution 1. Take heed, take heed of learning to do evil of any that are good. `Tis possible for a good man to do things that are bad; but let not his bad action embolden thee to run upon sin. Seest thou a good man that stumbleth at a stone, or that slippeth into the dirt—let that warn thee to take heed; let his stumble make thee wary, let his fall make thee look well to thy goings; 'ever follow that which is good' (1Th 5:15). Thy soul is at stake.

Caution 2. Take heed of the good things of bad men, for in them there lies a snare also; their 'good words and fair speeches' tend to deceive (Ro 16:17-18). Learn to be good, by the Word of God and by the holy lives of them that be good; envy not the wicked, 'nor desire to be with them;' choose none of his ways' (Pr 3:31; 24:1). Thy soul lies at stake.

Caution 3. Take heed of playing the hypocrite in religion. What of God and His Word thou knowest, profess it honestly, conform to it heartily, serve Him faithfully; for what is the hypocrite bettered by all his profession, 'when God taketh away his soul?' (Job 27:8).

Caution 4. Take heed of delays to turn to God, and of choosing His ways for the delight of thy heart, 'for the Lord's eye is upon them that fear Him, to deliver their souls' (Ps 33:18-19).

Caution 5. Boast not thyself of thy flocks and thy herds, of thy gold and thy silver, of thy sons and of thy daughters. What is a house full of treasures, and all the delights of this world, if thou be empty of grace, 'if thy soul be not filled with good?' (Ec 6:3). But,

USE FOURTH.—Is it so? Is the soul such an excellent thing, and is the loss thereof so unspeakably great? Then, I pray thee, let me inquire a little of thee, what provision thou hast made for thy soul? There be many that, through their eagerness after the things of this life, do bereave their soul of good, even of that good the which if they had it would be a good to them for ever (Ec 4:8). But I ask not concerning this; it is not what provision thou hast made for this life, but what for the life, and the world to come. 'Lord, gather not my soul with sinners,' saith David, (Ps 26:9); not with men of this world: Lord, not with them that have their portion in this life, whose belly Thou fillest with Thy hid treasures. Thus you see how Solomon laments some, and how his father prays to be delivered from their lot who have their portion in this life, and that have not made provision for their soul. Well, then, let me inquire of thee about this matter. What provision hast thou made for thy soul? And,

1. What hast thou thought of thy soul? What ponderous thoughts hast thou had of the greatness and of the immortality of thy soul? This must be the first inquiry: for he that hath not had his thoughts truly exercised, ponderously exercised, about the greatness and the immortality of his soul, will not be careful, after an effectual manner, to make provision for his soul, for the life and world to come. The soul is a man's all, whether he knows it or no, as I have already showed you. Now a man will be concerned about what he thinks is his all. We read of the poor servant that `setteth his heart upon' his wages (De 24:14-15). But it is because it is his all, his treasure, and that wherein his worldly worth lieth. Why, thy soul is thy all; it is strange if thou dost not think so! and more strange if thou dost think so, and yet hast light, seldom, and trivial thoughts about it. These two seem to be inconsistent, therefore let thy conscience speak; either thou hast very great and weighty thoughts about the excellent greatness of thy soul, or else thou dost not count that thy soul is so great a thing as it is, else thou dost not count it thy all.

2. What judgment hast thou made of the present state of thy soul? I speak now to the unconverted. Thy soul is under sin, under the curse, and an object of wrath; this is that sentence that by the Word is passed upon it—`Woe unto their soul,' saith God, 'for they have rewarded evil unto themselves.' (Isa 3:9). This is the sentence of God. Well, but what judgment hast thou passed upon it while thou livest in thy debaucheries? Is it not that which thy fellows have passed on theirs before thee, saying, 'I shall have peace, though I walk in the imagination of mine heart, to add drunkenness to thirst' (De 29:19). If so, know thy judgment is gross, thy soul is miserable, and turn, or in little time thine eyes will behold all this.

3. What care hast thou had of securing of thy soul, and that it might be delivered from the danger that by sin it is brought into? if a man has a horse, a cow, or a swine that is sick, or in danger by reason of this or that casualty, he will take care for his beast, that it may not perish; he will pull it out of the ditch on the Sabbath day. But, oh! that is the day on which many men do put their soul into the ditch of sin; that is the day that they set apart to pursue wickedness in.32 But, I say, what care hast thou taken to get thy soul out of this ditch?—a ditch out of which thou canst never get it without the aid of an omnipotent arm. In things pertaining to this life, when a man feels his own strength fail, he will implore the help and aid of another; and no man can, by any means, deliver by his own arm his soul from the power of hell, which thou also wilt confess, if thou beest not a very brute; but what hast thou done with God for help? hast thou cried? hast thou cried out? yea, dost thou still cry out, and that day and night before him— 'Deliver my soul' (Ps 17:13) `Save my soul, preserve my soul' (Ps 25:20) `Heal my soul,' (Ps 42:4), and, 'I pour out my soul unto thee?' (Ps 62:5). Yea, canst thou say, My soul, my soul waiteth upon God, my soul thirsteth for Him, my soul followeth hard after him? (Ps 63:1,8). I say, dost thou this, or dost thou hunt thine own soul to destroy it? The soul, with some, is the game, their lusts are the dogs, and they themselves are the huntsmen, and never do they more halloo, and lure, and laugh, and sing, than when they have delivered up their soul, their darling, to these dogs—a thing that David trembled to think of, when he cried, 'Dogs have compassed me. Deliver my darling,' my soul, 'from the power of the dog' (Ps 22:16,20). Thus, I say, he cried, and yet these dogs were but wicked men. But, oh! how much is a sin, a lust, worst than a man to do us hurt; yea, worse than is a dog, (or) a lion, to hurt a lamb!

32 In our comparatively happy days, we have little if any conception of the manner in which our forefathers desecrated the Sabbath. When Popery clouded the country, mass was attended on the Lord's day morning early; it was a recital of certain unknown words, after which parties of pleasure, so called, spent the day in places attractive for the frivolity or wantonness of their entertainments—in dancing, and carousing; the evening being devoted to the theatres or ball rooms. This was afterwards encouraged by our English 'heads of the church,' in a book of lawful sports to be used on Sundays. Even in our time a flood of iniquity continues to flow on those sacred days, which human laws cannot prevent. As the influence of the gospel spreads, the day will become sanctified and this will ever prove a correct standard of its progress.—Ed.

4. What are the signs and tokens that thou bearest about thee, concerning how it will go with thy soul at last? There are signs and tokens of a good, and signs and tokens of a bad end that the souls of sinners will have; there are signs of the salvation of the soul, (Heb 6:9); evident tokens of salvation; and there are signs of the damnation of the soul, evident signs of damnation (Php 1:27-28; Job 21:29-30; 1Sa 3:9). Now, which of these hast thou? I cannot stand here to show thee which are which; but thy soul and its salvation lieth before thee, and thou hast the book [the Holy Bible] of signs about these matters by thee; thou hast also men of God to go to, and their assemblies to frequent. Look to thyself; heaven and hell are hard by, and one of them will swallow thee up; heaven, into unspeakable and endless glory, or hell, into unspeakable and endless torment. Yet,

5. What are the pleasures and delights of thy soul now? Are they things Divine, or things natural? Are they things heavenly, or things earthly? Are they things holy, or things unholy? For look what think thou delightest in now, to those things the great God doth count thee a servant, and for and of those thou shalt receive thy wages at the day of judgment— 'His servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness' (Ro 16:16).

Wicked men talk of heaven, and say they hope and desire to go to heaven, even while they continue wicked men; but, I say, what would they do there? If all that desire to go to heaven should come thither, verily they would make a hell of heaven; for, I say, what would they do there? why, just as they do here, scatter their filthiness quite over the face of heaven, and make it as vile as the pit that the devils dwell in.33 Take holiness away out of heaven, and what is heaven? I had rather be in hell, were there none but holy ones there, than be in heaven itself with the children of iniquity. If heaven should be filled with wicked men, God would quickly drive them out, or forsake the place for their sakes. It is true, they have been sinners, and none but sinners, that go to heaven; but they are washed—' Such were some of you; but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified, in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God' (1Co 6:11). When the maidens were gathered together for the great king Ahasuerus, before they were brought to him into his royal presence, they were to be had to the house of the women, there to be purifed with things for purification, and that for twelve months together—to wit, six months with oil of myrrh, and six months with sweet odours, and other things, and so came every maiden to the king (Es 2:3,9,12-13). God also hath appointed that those that come into His royal presence should first go to the house of the women, the church,34 and there receive of the eunuchs things for purification, things to make us 'meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light' (Col 1:12). None can go from a state of nature to glory but by a state of grace, the Lord gives grace and glory; hence he that goeth to heaven is said to be wrought for it, fitted, prepared for it (1Co 5:5; Rom 19:23).  

33 How solemn, nay, awful is the thought that heaven's gates must be shut against all impurity. None who live and die in the love of sin can enter heaven, lest they should defile it— 'And there shall in no wise enter into it anything that defileth, neither worketh abomination, or a lie' (Re 21:27).—Ed.

34 In The Pilgrim's Progress,' in the house called Beautiful, all the inmates, except the porter, are females.—Ed.

USE FIFTH, Again, fifthly, Is it so? is the soul such an excellent thing, and is the loss thereof so unspeakably great? Then this doctrine commends those for the wise ones, that above all business concern themselves with the salvation of their souls; those that make all other matters but things by the by, and the salvation of their souls the one thing needful. But, but few comparatively will be concerned with this use; for where is he that doth this? Solomon speaks of one man of a thousand (Ec 7:28). However, some there be, and blessed be God for some; but they are they that are wise, yea, wise in the wisdom of God.

1. Because they reject what God hath rejected and that is sin. 2. Because they esteem but little of that which, by the Word, is counted but of little esteem, and that is the world. 3. Because they choose for a portion that which God commendeth unto us for that which is the most excellent thing —viz., Himself, His Christ, His heaven, His Word, His grace, and holiness; these are the great and most excellent things, and the things that He has chosen that is truly wise for his soul (and all other wise men are fools in God's account, and in the judgment of His Word), and if it be so, glory and bliss must needs be their portion, though others shall miss thereof— 'The wise shall inherit glory, but shame shall be the promotion of fools' (Pr 3:35).

Let me, then, encourage those that are of this mind to be strong, and hold on their way. Soul, thou hast pitched right; I will say of thy choice as David said of Goliath's sword, 'There is none like that; give it me.' Hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown' (Re 3:11). Oh! I admire this wisdom; this is by the direction of the Lawgiver; this is by the teaching of the blessed Spirit of God: not the wisdom which this world teacheth, nor the wisdom which the world doth choose, which comes to nought (1Co 2:6). Surely thou hast seen something of the world to come, and of the glory of it, through faith; surely God has made thee see emptiness in that wherein others find a fulness, and vanity in that which by others is counted for a darling. Blessed are thine eyes, for they see; and thine ears, for they hear.

But who told thee that thy soul was such an excellent thing as by thy practice thou declarest thou believest it to be? What! set more by thy soul than by all the world? What! cast a world behind thy back for the welfare of a soul? Is not this to play the fool, in the account of sinners, while angels wonder at and rejoice for thy wisdom? What a thing is this, that thy soul and its welfare should be more in thy esteem than all those glories wherewith the eyes of the world are dazzled! Surely thou hast looked upon the sun, and that makes gold look like a clod of clay in thine eyesight.

But who put the thoughts of the excellencies of the things that are eternal—I say, who put the thoughts of the excellency of those things into thy mind in this wanton age?—in an age wherein the thoughts of eternal life, and the salvation of the soul, are with and to many like the Morocco ambassador and his men, men of strange faces, in strange habit, with strange gestures and behaviour, monsters to behold. But where hadst thou that heart that gives entertainment to these thoughts, these heavenly thoughts? These thoughts are like the French Protestants, banished thence where they willingly would have harbour.35 How came they to thy house, to thy heart, and to find entertainment in thy soul? The Lord keep them in every imagination of the thoughts of thy heart for ever, and incline thine heart to seek Him more and more.

35 The edict of Nantes was issued April 1598; but in violation of it, Rochelle was taken from the Protestants in 1628. From that time horrid barbarities were practised upon them. In 1676, the elector of Brandenburg appealed to the French king on behalf of his Protestant subjects, of whom multitudes fled for refuge to England and Germany. In 1685, the edict of Nantes was revoked, and a frightful persecution ensued.—Ed.

And since the whole world have slighted and despised, and counted foolish the thoughts and cogitations wherewith thy soul is exercised, what strong and mighty supporter is it upon and with which thou bearest up thy spirit, and takest encouragement in this thy forlorn, unoccupied, and singular way? for so, I daresay, it is with the most; but certainly it is something above thyself, and that is more mighty to uphold thee than is the power, rage, and malice of all the world to cast thee down, or else thou couldst not bear up, now wind and weather, now the stream and the force thereof are against thee.

Objection 1. 'I know my soul is an excellent thing, and that the world to come and its glories, even in the smallest glimpse thereof, do swallow up all the world that is here; my heart also doth greatly desire to be exercised about the thoughts of eternity, and I count myself never better than when my poor heart is filled with them; as for the rage and fury of this world, it swayeth very little with me, for my heart is come to a point; but yet, for all that, I meet with many discouragements, and such things that indeed do weaken my strength in the way.'

But, brave soul, pray tell me what the things are that discourage thee, and that weaken thy strength in the way?

Why, the amazing greatness of this my enterprise, that is one thing. I am now pursuing things of the highest, the greatest, the most enriching nature, even eternal things; and the thoughts of the greatness of them drowned me; for when the heat of my spirit in the pursuit after them is a little returned and abated, methinks I hear myself talking thus to myself: Fond fool! canst thou imagine that such a gnat, a flea, a pismire as thou art, can take and possess the heavens, and mantle thyself up in the eternal glories? If thou makest first a trial of the successfulness of thy endeavours upon things far lower, more base, but much more easy to obtain, as crowns, kingdoms, earldoms, dukedoms, gold, silver, or the like, how vain are these attempts of thine; and yet thou thinkest to possess thy soul of heaven! Away, away! by the height thereof thou mayest well conclude it is far above out of thy reach; and by the breadth thereof it is too large for thee to grasp; and by the nature of the excellent glory thereof, too good for thee to possess. These are the thoughts that sometimes discourage me, and that weaken my strength in the way.

Answer. The greatness of thy undertaking does but show the nobleness of thy soul, in that it cannot, will not, be content with such low and dry as the baseborn spirits that are of the world can and do content themselves withal. And as to the greatness of the things thou aimest at, though they be, err they are indeed, things that have not their like, yet they are not too big for God to give, and He has promised to give them to the soul that seeketh Him; yea, He hath prepared the kingdom, given the kingdom, and laid up in the kingdom of heaven, the things that thy soul longeth for, presseth after, and cannot be content without (Lu 7:32; Mt 25:14; Col 1:5; 1Pe 1:4). As for thy making a trial of the successfulness of thy endeavours upon things more interim and base, that is but a trick of the old deceiver. God has refused to give His children the great, the brave, and glorious things of this world, a few only excepted, because He has prepared some better thing for them (1Co 1:27; Heb 11:36-40). Wherefore faint not, but let thy hand be strong, for thy work shall be rewarded (Ga 6:9). And since thy soul is at work for soul-things, for divine and eternal things, God will give them to thee; thou art not of the number of them that draw back unto perdition, but of them that believe to the saving of the soul; thou shalt receive the end of thy faith, the salvation of thy soul (Heb 10:39; 1Pe 1:8-9).

Objection 2. But all my discouragement doth not lie in this. I see so much of the sinful vileness of my nature, and feel how ready it is to thrust itself forth at all occasions to the defiling of my whole man, and more. Now this added to the former, adds to my discouragement greatly.

Answer. This should be cause of humiliation and of self-abasement, but not of discouragement; for the best of saints have their weaknesses, these their weaknesses. The ladies as well as she that grinds at the mill, know what doth attend that sex; and the giants in grace as well as the weak and shrubs, are sensible of the same things, which thou layest in against thy exercising of hope, or as matter of thy discouragement. Poor David says (Ps 77:2) `My soul refused to be comforted,' upon this very account, and Paul cries out under sense of this, '0 wretched man that I am!' and comes as it were to the borders of doubt, saying, 'Who shall deliver me?' (Ro 7:24). Only he was quick at remembering that Christ was his righteousness and price of redemption, and there he relieved himself.

Again; this should drive us to faith in Christ; for therefore are the corruptions by Divine permission still left in us; they are not left in us to drive us to unbelief, but to faith—that is, to look to the perfect righteousness of Christ for life. And for further help, consider, that therefore Christ liveth in heaven, making intercession, that thou mightest be saved by His life, not by thine, and by His intercessions, not by thy perfections (Ro 5:6-9; Col 1:20). Let not therefore thy weaknesses be thy discouragements; only let them put thee upon the duties required of thee by the gospel—to wit, faith, hope, repentance, humility, watchfulness, diligence, etc. (1Pe 1:13; 5:5; 2Co 7:11; Mr 13:37; 2Pe 1:10).

Objection 3. But I find, together with these things, weakness and faintness as to my graces; my faith my hope, my love, and desires to these and all other Christian duties are weak; I am like the man in the dream, that would have run, but could not; that would have fought, but could not; and that would have fled, but could not.

Answer 1. Weak graces are graces, weak graces may grow stronger; but if the iron be blunt, put to the more strength (Ec 10:10). 2. Christ seems to be most tender of the weak: 'He shall gather the lambs with His arm, and carry them in His bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young.' (Isa 40:11). And again, 'I will seek that which was lost, and bring again that which was driven away, and will bind up that which was broken, and will strengthen that which was sick' (Eze 34:16). Only here will thy wisdom be manifested—to wit, that thou grow in grace, and that thou use lawfully and diligently the means to do it (2Pe 3:18; Php 2:10-11; 1Th 3:11-13).

USE SIXTH, I come, in the next place, to a use of terror, and so I shall conclude. Is it so? is the soul such an excellent thing, and is the loss thereof so unspeakably great? Then this showeth the sad state of those that lose their souls. We use to count those in a deplorable condition, that by one only stroke, are stript of their whole estate; the fire swept away all that he had; or all that he had was in such a ship, and that ship sunk into the bottom of the sea; this is sad news, this is heavy tidings, this is bewailed of all, especially if such were great in the world, and were brought by their loss from a high to a low, to a very low condition; but alas! what is this to the loss about which we have been speaking all this while? The loss of an estate may be repaired, or if not, a man may find friends in his present deplorable condition to his support, though not recovery; but far will this be from him that shall lose his soul. Ah! he has lost his soul, and can never be recovered again, unless hell fire can comfort him; unless he can solace himself in the fiery indignation of God; terrors will be upon him, anguish and sorrow will swallow him up, because of present misery; slighted and set at nought by God and His angels, he will also be in this miserable state, and this will add to sorrow, sorrow, and to his vexation of spirit, howling.

To present you with emblems of tormented spirits, or to draw before your eyes the picture of hell, are things too light for so ponderous a subject as this; nor can any man frame or invent words, be they never so deep and profound, sufficient to the life to set out the torments of hell.

All those expressions of fire, brimstone, the lake of fire, a fiery furnace, the bottomless pit, and a hundred more to boot, are all too short to let forth the miseries of those that shall be damned souls. 'Who knoweth the power or God's anger?' (Ps 90:11). None at all; and unless the power of that can be known, it must abide as unspeakable as the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge.

We hear it thunder, we see it lighten; yea, eclipses, comets, and blazing stars are all subject to smite us with terror; the thought of a ghost, of the appearing of a dead wife, a dead husband, or the like, how terrible are these things!36 But alas, what are these? mere flea bitings, nay, not so bad, when compared with the torments of hell. Guilt and despair, what are they? Who understands them unto perfection? The ireful looks of an infinite Majesty, what mortal in the land of the living can tell us to the full, how dismal and breaking to the soul of a man it is, when it comes as from `the power of His anger,' and arises from the utmost indignation? Besides, who knows of all the ways by which the Almighty will inflict His just revenges upon the souls of damned sinners? When Paul was caught up to the third heaven, he heard words that were unspeakable; and he that goes down to hell shall hear groans that are unutterable. Hear, did I say? they shall feel them, they shall feel them burst from their wounded spirit as thunderclaps do from the clouds. Once I dreamed that I saw two (whom I knew) in hell, and methought I saw a continual dropping from heaven, as of great drops of fire lighting upon them, to their sore distress. Oh! words are wanting, thoughts are wanting, imagination and fancy are poor things here; hell is another kind of place and state than any alive can think; and since I am upon this subject, I will here treat a little of hell as the Scriptures will give me leave, and the rather because I am upon a use of terror, and because hell is the place of torment (Lu 16).

36 Great allowance must be made for the times in which Bunyan lived. Baxter, and all the great divines, Sir M. Hale, and the judges, believed in witches, ghosts, and other chimeras; in fact, any one professing unbelief in these wild fancies, would have been counted among infidels and atheists.—Ed.

1. Hell is said to be beneath, as heaven is said to be above; because as above signifieth the utmost joy, triumph, and felicity, so beneath is a term most fit to describe the place of hell by, because of the utmost opposition that is between these two; hell being the place of the utmost sorrow, despair, and misery; there are the underlings ever trampled under the feet of God; they are beneath, below, under (Pr 15:24)!

2. Hell is said to be darkness, and heaven is said to be light; light, to show the pleasureableness and the desireableness of heaven; and darkness, to show the dolesome and wearisomeness of hell; and how weary, oh! how weary and wearisomely, as I may say, will damned souls turn themselves from side to side, from place to place, in hell, while swallowed up in the thickest darkness, and griped with the burning thoughts of the endlessness of that most unutterable misery (Mt 22:13)!

3. Men are said to go up to heaven, but they are said to go down to hell; up, because of exaltation, and because they must abound in beauty and glory that go to heaven; down, because of those sad dejections, that great deformity and vile contempt that sin hath brought them to that go to hell (Eze 32:18).

4. Heaven is called a hill or mount, (Heb 12); hell is called a pit, or hole, (Re 9:2); heaven, a mount, the mount Zion, (Re 14); to show how God has, and will exalt them that loved Him in the world; hell, a pit or hole, to show how all the ungodly shall be buried in the yawning paunch and belly of hell, as in a hollow cave.

5. Heaven! It is said of heaven, the height of heaven, (Job 22:12). and of hell, the bottomless pit, (Re 9:2; 20:3). The height of heaven, to show that the exaltation of them that do ascend up thither is both perfect and unsearchable; and hell, the bottomless pit, to show that the downfall of them that descend in thither will never be at an end—down, down, down they go, and nothing but down, down still!

6. Heaven! It is called the paradise of God, (Re 2:7); but hell, the burning lake (Re 20:15). A paradise, to show how quiet, harmless, sweet, and beautiful heaven shall be to them that possess it, as the garden was at the beginning of the creation; hell, the burning lake, to allude to Sodom, that since its destruction is turned into a stinking lake, and to show that as their distress was unutterable, and to the highest amazement, full of confusion and horror, when that tempestuous storm of fire and brimstone was rained from the Lord out of heaven upon them, so, to the utmost degree, shall it be with the souls that are lost and cast into hell.

7. It is said that there are dwelling houses, or places in the kingdom of heaven (Joh 14:1-3; Zec 3:7; Isa 57:1-2). And also that there are the cells or the chambers of death in hell (Pr 7:27). There are mansions or dwelling places in heaven, to show that every one of them that go thither might have his reward, according to his work; and that there is hell, and the lowest hell (De 32:22; Ps 86:13). And the chambers of death in hell to show there are places and states in hell too, for sinners to be imprisoned in, according to their faults; hence it is said of some, These shall receive greater damnation, (Lu 20:47); and of others, That it shall be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrah in the judgment than for them, etc. (Lu 10:12,14).

The lowest hell. How many hells there are above that, or more tolerable tormenting places than the most exquisite torments there, God, and they that are there, know best; but degrees without doubt there are; and the term 'lowest' shows the utmost and most exquisite distress; so the chambers of death, the second death in hell, for so I think the words should be understood— 'Her house is the way to hell, going down to the chambers of death' (Pr 7:27). These are the chambers that the chambers in the temple, or that the dwelling places in the house in heaven, are opposed to: and this opposition shows, that as there will be degrees of glory in heaven, so there will of torments in hell; and there is all reason for it, since the punishment must be inflicted by God, the infinitely just. Why should a poor, silly, ignorant man, though damned, be punished with the same degree of torment that he that has lived a thousand times worse shall be punished with? It cannot be; justice will not admit it; guilt, and the quality of the transgression, will not admit it; yea, the tormenting fire of hell itself will not admit it; for if hell fire can kindle upon nothing but sin, and the sinner for the sake of it, and if sin be as oil to that fire, as the Holy Ghost seems to intimate, saying, 'Let it come into his bowels like water, and like oil into his bones' (Ps 109:18). Then as the quantity of the oil is, so will the fire burn, and so will the flaming flame ascend, and the smoke of their torment, for ever and ever. Suppose a piece of timber a little bedaubed with oil, and another that has been soaking in it many a year, which of these two, think you, would burn fiercest? and from whence would the flaming flame ascend highest, and make the most roaring noise? Suppose two vessels filled with oil, one containing the quantity of a pint, the other containing the quantity of a hogshead, and suppose that in one place they were both set on fire, yet so that they might not intermix flames; nay, though they did, yet all would conclude that the most amazing roaring flame would be upon the biggest vessel, and would be the effect of the greatest quantity of oil; so it will be with the wicked in hell. The lowest hell is for the biggest sinners, and theirs will be the greater damnation, and the more intolerable torment, though he that has least of this oil of sin in his bones, and of the kindlings of hell fire upon him, will find he has hell enough, and will be weary enough thereof, for still he must struggle with flames that are everlasting; for sin is such a thing, that it can never be burned out of the soul and body of a damned sinner.

But again; having treated thus of hell, we will now speak a word or two of sin, for that is it upon which hell fire seizes, and so on the soul by that. Sin! it is the sting of hell—the sting of death is sin (1Co 15:56). By 'death' in this place we must not understand that which is natural, but that which is in hell, the second death, even everlasting damnation; for natural death the saints die, yea, and also many sinners, without the least touch of a sting from that; but here is a death that has a sting to hurt, to twinge, and wound the sinner with, even then when it has the utmost mastery of him. And this is the death that the saved are delivered from; not that which is natural, for that is the end of them as of others (1Co 15:55; Ec 2:15-16). But the second death, the death in hell, for that is the portion of the damned, and it is from that that the saints have a promise of deliverance— 'He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death' (Re 2:11). And again, 'Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection; on such the second death hath no power' (Re 20:6). It is this death, then, that hath the chambers to hold each damned soul in: and sin is the twining, winding, biting, poisoning sting of this death, or of these chambers of hell, for sinners to be stricken, stung, and pierced with. 'The sting of death is sin.' Sin, the general of it,37 is the sting of hell, for there would be no such thing as torment even there, were it not that sin is there with sinners; for, as I have hinted already, the fire of hell, the indignation and wrath of God, can fasten and kindle upon nothing but for or because of sin; sin, then, as sin, is the sting and the hell of hells, of the lowest and upmost hells. Sin, I say, in the nature of it, simply as it is concluded both by God and the damned to be a breach of His holy law, so it is the sting of the second death, which is the worm of hell. But then, as sin is such a sting in itself, so it is heightened, sharpened, and made more keen and sharp by those circumstances that as concomitants attend it in every act: for there is not a sin at any time committed by man, but there is some circumstance or other attends it, that makes it, when charged home by God's law, bigger and sharper, and more venom and poisonous to the soul than if it could be committed without them; and this is the sting of the hornet, the great sting. I sinned without a cause to please a base lust, to gratify the devil; here is the sting! Again, I preferred sin before holiness, death before life, hell before heaven, the devil before God, and damnation before a Saviour; here is the sting! Again, I preferred moments before everlastings, temporals before eternals, to be racked and always slaying before the life that is blessed and endless; here is the sting! Also, this I did against light, against convictions, against conscience, against persuasion of friends, ministers, and the godly lives which I beheld in others; here is the sting! Also, this I did against warnings, forewarnings, yea, though I saw others fall before my face by the mighty hand of God for committing of the same; here is the sting!

37 Sin 'in the general of it,' or sin wherever it may be found.

Sinners, would I could persuade you to hear me out! A man cannot commit a sin, but, by the commission of it, he doth, by some circumstance or other, sharpen the sting of hell, and that to pierce himself through and through, and through, with many sorrows (1Ti 6:10) Also, the sting of hell to some will be, that the damnation of others stand upon their score, for that by imitating of them, by being deluded by them, persuaded by them, drawn in by them, they perish in hell for ever; and hence it is that these principal sinners must die all these deaths in themselves, that those damned ones that they have drawn into hell are also to bear in their own souls for ever. And this God threatened to the prince of Tyrus, that capital sinner, because by his pride, power, practice, and policy, he cast down others into the pit; therefore saith God to him, 'They shall bring thee down to the pit, and thou shalt die the deaths of them that are slain in the midst of the seas.' And again; `Thou shalt die the deaths of the uncircumcised by the hand of strangers; for I have spoken it, saith the Lord God' (Eze 28:8,10). Ah! this will be the sting of them, of those that are principal, chief and, as I may call them, the captain and ringleading sinners. Vipers will come out of other men's fire and flames, and settle upon, seize upon, and for ever abide upon their consciences; and this will be the sting of hell, the great sting of hell to them.

I will yet add to all this; how will the fairness of some for heaven, even the thoughts of that, sting them when they come to hell! It will not be so much their fall into the pit, as from whence they fell into it, that will be to them the buzzing noise and sharpened sting of the great and terrible hornet. 'How art thou fallen from heaven, 0 Lucifer!' there is the sting (Isa 14:12). Thou that art exalted up to heaven shalt be thrust down to hell, though thou hast made `thy nest among the stars,' from thence I will fetch thee down; there is a sting (Mt 11:23; Ob 4). To be pulled, for and through love to some vain lust, from the everlasting gates of glory, and caused to be swallowed up for it in the belly of hell, and made to lodge for ever in the darksome chambers of death, there is the piercing sting!

But again, as there is the sting of hell, so there is the strength of that sting; for a sting though never so sharp, or venom, yet if it wanteth strength to force it to the designed execution, it doth but little hurt. But this sting has strength to cause it to pierce into the soul; `the sting of death is sin: and the strength of sin is the law ' (1Co 15:56). Here then is the strength of the stings of hell; it is the law in the perfect penalty of it; 'for without the law, sin is dead' (Ro 7:8). Yea, again he saith, 'where no law is, there is no transgression' (Ro 4:15). The law then followeth, in the executive part of it, the soul into hell, and there strengtheneth sin, that sting of hell, to pierce by its unutterable charging of it on the conscience, the soul for ever and ever; nor can the soul justly murmur or repine at God or at His law, for that then the sharply apprehensive soul will well discern the justness, righteousness, reasonableness, and goodness of the law, and that nothing is done by the law unto it, but that which is just and equal.38

38 The law is a transcript of the mind of God, it is holy, just, and good—so that he that offendeth in one point is guilty of all. The law convicts and shows the sinner that God is all eye to see, and all fire to consume, every unclean thing. Thus the law gives sin its strength, and death its warrant, to arrest and execute the sinner.—Mason.

This, therefore, will put great strength and force into sin to sting the soul, and to strike it with the lashes of a scorpion. Add yet to these the abiding life of God, the Judge and God of this law, will never die. When princes die, the law may be altered by the which at present transgressors are bound in chains; but oh! here is also that which will make this sting so sharp and keen, the God that executes it will never die. 'It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God' (Heb 10:30-31).







1Jo 2:1 - “And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.”


By JOHN BUNYAN, Author of “The Pilgrim’s Progress.” 

London: Printed for Dorman Newman, at the King’s Arms, in the Poultry, 1689.



  This is one of the most interesting of Bunyan’s treatises, to edit which required the Bible at my right hand, and a law dictionary on my left. It was very frequently republished; but in an edition by John Marshall, 1725, it became most seriously mutilated, many passages were omitted, and numerous errors were made. In this state, it was copied into Mr. Whitefield’s edition of his works, and it has been since republished with all those errors. It is now restored to its original state; and we hope that it will prove a most acceptable addition to our theological literature. Although Bunyan was shut up for more than twelve years a prisoner for the truth, and his time was so fully occupied in preaching, writing, and labouring to provide for the pressing wants of his family; still he managed to get acquainted, in a very remarkable manner, with all those law terms which are connected with the duties of a counsel, or advocate. He uses the words replevin, supersedeas, term, demur, nonsuit, reference, title, in forma pauperis, king’s bench, common pleas, as properly and familiarly as if he had been brought up to the bar. How extraordinary must have been his mental powers, and how retentive his memory! I examined this work with apprehension, lest he had misapplied those hard words; but my surprise was great, to find that he had used every one of them with as much propriety as a Lord Chief-Justice could have done. 

We are indebted for this treatise to Bunyan’s having heard a sermon which excited his attention to a common, a dangerous, and a fatal heresy, more frequently preached to crowned heads, mitred prelates, members of parliament, and convocations, than it is to the poor, to whom the gospel is preached. In this sermon, the preacher said to his hearers, “see that your cause be good, else Christ will not undertake it.” p. 159. Bunyan heard, as all Christians ought to hear, with careful jealousy, and at once detected the error. He exposes the fallacy, and uses his scriptural knowledge to confute it, by showing that Christ pleads for the wicked, the lost; for those who feel themselves so involved in a bad cause, that no advocate but Christ can bring them through. He manifests great anxiety that every inquirer should clearly ascertain definite truths and not be contented with general notions. See p. 189-199, and 201. This is very important advice, and by following which, we shall be saved from many painful doubts and fears. Our need of an advocate is proved by the fact, that Christ has undertaken the office. Some rely on their tears and sighs, as advocates for them with God; others on imperfect good works—from all these the soul must be shaken, until it finds that there is no prevailing Advocate but the Saviour; and that he alone, with his mystical body, the church, is entitled to the inheritance. Then sincere repentance, sighs, and tears, evidence our faith in him, and our godly sorrow for having occasioned him such inconceivable sufferings; tears of joy that we have such a Saviour and an Advocate, equally omnipotent to plead for, as to save us. The inheritance being Christ’s, the members of his body cannot be cheated of it, or alienate it. p. 187. Bunyan, with his fertile imagination, and profound scriptural knowledge, spiritualizes the day of jubilee as a type of the safety of the inheritance of the saints. By our folly and sin we may lose sight for a time of our title deeds; but the inheritance is safe. 

The whole work is a rich treat to those who love experimental divinity, and are safe in Christ as Noah was in the ark; but, Oh! how woeful must those be, who are without an interest in the Saviour; and that have none to plead their cause. “They are left to be ground to powder between the justice of God and the sins which they have committed. It is sad to consider their plight. This is the man that is pursued by the law, and by sin, and by death, and has none to plead his cause. Terrors take hold on him as waters; a stone hurleth him out of his place” (Job 27). p. 200. Reader, this is a soul-searching subject—may it lead us to a solemn trial of our state, and to the happy conclusion, that the Saviour is our Advocate, and that our eternal inheritance is safe in heaven.








 Of all the excellent offices which God the Father has conferred upon Jesus Christ our Lord, this of his being an Advocate with him for us is not the least, though, to the shame of saints it may be spoken, the blessed benefits thereof have not with that diligence and fervent desire been inquired after as they ought. 

Christ, as sacrifice, priest, and king, with the glories in, and that flow from, him as such, has, God be thanked, in this our day, been much discovered by our seers, and as much rejoiced in by those who have believed their words; but as he is an Advocate with the Father, an Advocate for us, I fear the excellency of that doth still too much lie hid; though I am verily of opinion that the people of God in this age have as much need of the knowledge thereof, if not more need, than had their brethren that are gone before them. 

These words, “if not more need,” perhaps may seem to some to be somewhat out of joint; but let the godly wise consider the decays that are among us as to the power of godliness, and what abundance of foul miscarriages the generality of professors now stand guilty of, as also how diligent their great enemy is to accuse them at the bar of God for them, and I think they will conclude, that, in so saying, I indeed have said some truth. Wherefore, when I thought on this, and had somewhat considered also the transcendent excellency of the advocateship of this our Lord; and again, that but little of the glory thereof has by writing been, in our day, communicated to the church, I adventured to write what I have seen thereof, and do, by what doth follow, present it unto her for good. 

I count not myself sufficient for this, or for any other truth as it is in Jesus; but yet, I say, I have told you somewhat of it, according to the proportion of faith. And I believe that some will thank God for what I here have said about it; but it will be chiefly those, whose right and title to the kingdom of heaven and glory, doth seem to themselves to be called in question by their enemy, at the bar of the Judge of all. 

These, I say, will read, and be glad to hear, that they have an Advocate at court that will stand up to plead for them, and that will yet secure to them a right to the heavenly kingdom. Wherefore, it is more particularly for those that at present, or that hereafter, may be in this dreadful plight, that this my book is now made public; because it is, as I have showed, for such that Jesus Christ is Advocate with the Father. 

Of the many and singular advantages, therefore, that such have by this their Advocate in his advocating for them, this book gives some account; as, where he pleads, how he pleads, what he pleads, when he pleads, with whom he pleads, for whom he pleads, and how the enemy is put to shame and silence before their God and all the holy angels. 

Here is also showed to those herein concerned, how they indeed may know that Jesus is their Advocate; yea, and how their matters go before their God, the Judge; and particularly that they shall well come off at last, yea, though their cause, as it is theirs, is such, in justification of which, themselves do not dare to show their heads. 

Nor have I left the dejected souls without directions how to entertain this Advocate to plead their cause; yea, I have also shown that he will be with ease prevailed with, to stand up to plead for such, as one would think, the very heavens would blush to hear them named by him. Their comfort also is, that he never lost a cause, nor a soul, for whom he undertook to be an Advocate with God. 

But, reader, I will no longer detain thee from the perusal of the discourse. Read and think; read, and compare what thou readest with the Word of God. If thou findest any benefit by that thou readest, give the Father, and his Son the glory; and also pray for me. If thou findest me short in this, or to exceed in that, impute all such things to my weakness, of which I am always full. Farewell. I am thine to serve thee what I may,





 The apostle’s Divine policy, to beget a due regard to his Divine doctrine of eternal life.—The apostle’s explication of this expression, viz., The blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth from all sin.—The apostle’s exhortation to separation from sin, as a good effect of a good cause, viz., Forgiveness— The apostle’s addition, to prevent misunder- standing, viz., We have an advocate with the Father . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  7 


This brings to the text, in which are two great truths contained: I. A supposition, viz., That men in Christ may sin. II. An expression, by way of consolation, in case of sin, viz., We have an Advocate with the Father . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   7 


Two things for inquiry in these truths: First. An inquiry into what our apostle means by sin; in which is considered, A difference in the person and in the sin. And, Second, An inquiry into what it is for Christ to be an Advocate, viz., To plead for another in a court of judicature . . . . . . . . . . .  8 


Seven things supposed in the office of an advocate: 1. That God, as judge, is on the throne of judgment. 2. That saints are concerned at that bar. 3. That Christians have an accuser. 4. That sinning saints dare not appear at this bar to plead their own cause. 5. That Christians are apt to forget their Advocate, and remember their Jg 6. To remember our Advocate is the way to support faith and hope.—7. That if our advocate plead our cause (though that be never so black) he is able to bring us off . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   8-10 


The apostle’s triumph in Christ on this account.—An exhortation to the difficult task of believing.—Christ’s advocateship declares us to be sorry creatures . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  10-11




 FIRST, TO SPEAK OF THIS ADVOCATE’S OFFICE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   11   

First, By touching on the nature of this office    12 

Second, By treating of the order or place of this office . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   12 

Third, The occasion of this office, viz., some great sin.—Christ, as Advocate, pleads a bad cause.—A good cause will plead for itself.—A bad man may have a good cause, and a good man may have a bad cause.—Christ, the righteous, pleading a bad cause, is a mystery.— The best saints are most sensible of their sins.—A pestilent passage of a preacher . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  13-14   


SECOND, TO SHOW HOW CHRIST DOES MANAGE HIS OFFICE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  14


 First, How he manages his office of Advocate with the Father.—1. ALONE, not by any proxy or deputy.—2. Christ pleads at God’s bar; the cause cannot be removed into another court.—If removed from heaven, we have no advocate on earth.—3. In pleading, Christ observes these rules: (1.) He granteth what is charged on us.— (2.) He pleads his own goodness for us.—He payeth all our debts down.—All mouths stopped, who would not have the sinner delivered.—(3.) Christ requires a verdict in order to our deliverance.—The sinner is delivered, God contented, Satan confounded, and Christ applauded . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14-17 

Second, How Christ manages his office of an Advocate against the adversary by argument.—1. He pleads the pleasure of his Father in his merits.—Satan rebuked for finding fault therewith.—2. He pleads God’s interest in his people.—Haman’s mishap in being engaged against the king’s queen.—N. B. It seems a weak plea, because of man’s unworthiness; but it is a strong plea, because of God’s worthiness.—The elect are bound to God by a sevenfold cord.— The weight of the plea weighed . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17-19 


Third, Christ pleads his own interest in them.—A parallel between cattle in a pound and Christ’s own sheep.—Six weighty reasons in this plea.—1. They are Christ’s own.—2. They cost him dear.—3. He hath made them near to himself.—(a.) They are his spouse, his love, his dove; they are members of his body.—(b.) A man cannot spare a hand, a foot, a finger.—Nor can Christ spare any member.—4. Christ pleads his right in heaven to give it to whom he will.— Christ will; Satan will not; Christ’s will stands.— 5. Christ pleads Satan’s enmity against the godly.—Satan is the cause of the crimes he accuses us of.—A simile of a weak-witted child.—6. Christ can plead those sins of saints for them for which Satan would have them damned.—Eight considerations to clear that.— Seven more considerations to the same end.— Men care most for children that are infirm.—A father offended hath been appeased by a brother turning advocate . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19-25




 First, This office of advocate differs from that of a priest.—1. They differ in name.—2. They differ in nature.—3. They differ as to their extent.—4. They differ as to the persons with whom they have to do.—5. They differ as to the matter about which they are employed.—6. Christ, as Priest, precedes; Christ, as Advocate, succeeds . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25


 Second, How far this office of an advocate is extended; in five particulars . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26 


Third, Who have Christ for their Advocate.— 1. In general, all adopted children.—Object. The text saith, “If any man sin.”—Answ. “Any man,” is not any of the world; but any of the children of God.—A difference in children; some bigger than some.—Christ an Advocate for strong men.—2. In particular, to show if Christ be our Advocate—(1.) If one have entertained Christ to plead a cause.—Quest. How shall I know that?— Answ. By being sensible of an action commenced against thee in the high court of justice.—(2.) If one have revealed a cause to Christ.—An example of one revealing his cause to Christ, in a closet.—In order to this, one must know Christ, (a.) To be a friend.—(b.) To be faithful.—(3.) If one have committed a cause to Christ.—In order to this, one must be convinced, (a.) Of Christ’s ability to defend him.—(b.) Of Christ’s courage to plead a cause.—(c.) Of Christ’s will for this work.—(d.) Of Christ’s tenderness in case of his client’s dullness.—(e.) Of Christ’s unweariedness—(4.) If one wait till things come to a legal issue.—Quest. What is it thus to wait?—Answ . (a.) To be of good courage; look for deliverance.—(b.) To keep his way in waiting.— (c.) To observe his directions.—(d.) To hearken to further directions which may come from the advocate.—(e.) To come to no ill conclusion in waiting, viz., that the cause is lost; because one hears not from court.—(f.) To wait waking, not sleeping.—Ordinances and ministers compared to a post house and carriers of letters.—The client’s comfortable conclusion about his advocate and cause.—But yet doubting and desponding.—The author’s reply to, and compliance with, the client’s conclusion; and his counsel in the case . .  26-34   




 First Privilege.—The Advocate pleads a price paid.—Of a rich brother and his poor brethren.— Of the ill-conditioned man, their enemy.— Further cleared by three considerations . . . . . . . . 34 

Second Privilege.—The client’s Advocate pleads for himself also; both concerned in one bottom.—1. He pleads the price of his own blood.—2. He pleads it for his own.—A simile of a lame horse.—Of men going to law for a thing of little worth.—Object. I am but one.—Answ. Christ cannot lose one . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35 


Third Privilege.—The plea of Satan is groundless.—Satan must be cast over the bar.—A simile of a widow owing a sum of money.—Of

an old law nulled1 by a new law.—Satan pleads by the old law; Christ by the new . . . . . . . . . . . .  36 

 1 “Nulled”; repealed or annulled.—ED.

Fourth Privilege.—Is consequential; the client’s accuser must needs be overthrown.—The client’s solemn appeal to the Almighty.—In case the accused have no advocate, Satan prevails . . .   38 

Fifth Privilege.—The Advocate hath pity for his client, and indignation against the accuser.— Men choose an advocate who hath a quarrel against their adversary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   38 

Sixth Privilege.—The judge counts the accuser his enemy.—To procure the judge’s son to plead, is desirable . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39 


Seventh Privilege.—The client’s Advocate hath good courage; he will set his face like a flint.—He pleads before the God, and all the host, of heaven.—He is the old friend of publicans and sinners.—He pleads a cause bad enough to make angels blush.—Love will do, and bear, and suffer much . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  39 

Eighth Privilege.—The Advocate is always ready in court.—He appears NOW in the presence of God . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40 

Ninth Privilege.—The Advocate will not be blinded with bribes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  41 

Tenth Privilege.—The Advocate is judge in the client’s cause.—Joseph’s exaltation was Israel’s advantage.—God’s care of his people’s welfare . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  42 182 

Eleventh Privilege.—The Advocate hath all that is requisite for an advocate to have . . . . . . . . 42


 FIFTH.—LAST HEAD.—TO SHOW THE NECESSITY OF CHRIST FOR OUR ADVOCATE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   43   

First.—To vindicate the justice of God against the cavils of the devil.—Satan charges God with unjust words and actions.—God is pleased with his design to save sinners . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   43 

Second.—There is law to be objected against us.—Christ appeals to the law itself.—Christ is not ashamed to own the way of salvation . . . . . .  44 

Third.—Many things give our accuser advantage.—1. Many things relating to the promises.—2. Many things relating to our lives.—3. The threats annexed to the gospel . . . . 45-47 

Fourth.—To plead about our afflictions for sins.—A simile of a man indicted at the assizes, and his malicious adversary.—An allusion to Abishai and Shimei, who cursed David . . . . . . . .  47 

Fifth.—To plead the efficacy of our old titles to our inheritance, if questionable because of new sins—Saints do not sell their inheritance by sin . . 48


 Sixth.—Our evidences are oft out of our hand, and we recover them by our Advocate . . . . . . . . . 49   




 First Object.—What need all these offices or nice distinctions.—Answ. The wisdom of God is not to be charged with folly.—God’s people are baffled with the devil for want of a distinct knowledge of Christ in all his offices . . . . . . . . .   50 

Second Object.—My cause being bad, Christ will desert me.—Answ. Sin is deadly destruction to faith.—A five-fold order observed in the exercise of faith . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  51 

Third Object.—But who shall pay the Advocate his fee?—Answ. There is law, and lawyers too, without money.—Christ pleads for the poor.—David’s strange gift to God . . . . . . . .  52 

Fourth Object.—If Christ be my Advocate once, he will always be troubled with me.— Answ. He is an Advocate to the utmost . . . . . . .   53




 Use First.—To consider the dignity God hath put upon Christ, by offices, places of trust, and titles of honour, in general . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 54-56 

Use Second.—To consider this office of an Advocate in particular; by which consideration these advantages come:—1. To see one is not forsaken for sin.—2. To take courage to contend with the devil.—3. It affords relief for discouraged faith.—4. It helps to put off the visor Satan puts on Christ.—A simile of a visor on the face of a father.—Study this peculiar treasure of an advocate.—(1.) With reference to its peculiarity.—(2.) Study the nature of this office.—(3.) Study its efficacy and prevalency.— (4.) Study Christ’s faithfulness in his office.—(5.) Study the need of a share therein . . . . . . . . . . . .  56-58 

Use Third.—To wonder at Christ’s condescension , in being an Advocate for the base and unworthy.—Christ acts in open court, 1. With a holy and just God.—2. Before all the heavenly host.—3. The client is unconcerned for whom the Advocate is engaged.—4. The majesty of the man that is an Advocate . . . . . . . . . . . . .   58-60 

Use Fourth.—Improve this doctrine to strengthen grace. 1.To strengthen faith.—2. To encourage to prayer.—3. To keep humble.—4. To encourage to perseverance.—Object. I cannot pray; my mouth is stopped.—Answ. Satan cannot silence Christ.—5. Improve this doctrine, to drive difficulties down . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 60-62 

Use Fifth.—If Christ pleads for us before God, we should plead for him before men.—Nine  considerations to that end.—The last reserve for a dead lift . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 62 

Use Sixth.—To be wary of sin against God.— Christianity teaches ingenuity.2 Christ is our Advocate, on free cost.—A comely conclusion of a brute.—Three considerations added . . . . . . . . 63-65 

2 “Ingenuity”; ingenuousness, frankness, sincerity.— ED.

Use Seventh.—The strong are to tell the weak of an Advocate to plead their cause.—A word in season is good . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  65 

Use Eighth.—All is nothing to them that have none to plead their cause.—An instance of God’s terrible judgment.—Object. There is grace, the promise, the blood of Christ; cannot these save, except Christ be Advocate?—Answ. These, and Advocate, and all, little enough.—Christ no Advocate for such as have no sense of, and shame for sin.—Object. Is not Christ an Advocate for his elect uncalled?—Answ. He died, and prayeth, for all his elect, as Priest; as Advocate, pleads for the called only . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 65-67




 That the apostle might obtain due regard from those to whom he wrote, touching the things about which he wrote, he tells them that he received not his message to them at second or third hand, but was himself an eye and ear witness thereof— “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the word of life, (for the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness and show unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;) that which we have seen and heard, declare we unto you” [1Jo 1:1-3].3 Having thus told them of his ground for what he said, he proceeds to tell them also the matter contained in his errand-to wit, that he brought them news of eternal life, as freely offered in the word of the gospel to them; or rather, that that gospel which they had received would certainly usher them in at the gates of the kingdom of heaven, were their reception of it sincere and in truth—for, saith he, then “the blood of Jesus Christ the Son of God cleanseth you from all sin.”  

3 How deeply important is this essential doctrine of Christianity-a personal investigation. We must hear and see for ourselves, handle the word of life, and not trust to others, however holy and capable they may appear to be; we must search the Scriptures, and pray for ourselves, or we have not the slightest claim to the name of Christian. —ED.

Having thus far told them what was his errand, he sets upon an explication of what he had said, especially touching our being cleansed from all sin — “Not,” saith he, “from a being of sin; for should we say so, we should deceive ourselves,” and should prove that we have no truth of God in us, but by cleansing, I mean a being delivered from all sin, so as that none at all shall have the dominion over you, to bring you down to hell; for that, for the sake of the blood of Christ, all trespasses are forgiven you. 

This done, he exhorts them to shun or fly sin, and not to consent to the motions, workings, enticings, or allurements thereof, saying, “I write unto you that ye sin not.” Let not forgiveness have so bad an effect upon you as to cause you to be remiss in Christian duties, or as to tempt you to give, way to evil. Shall we sin because we are forgiven? or shall we not much matter what manner of lives we live, because we are set free from the law of sin and death? God forbid. Let grace teach us another lesson, and lay other obligations upon our spirits. “My little children,” saith he, “these things write I unto you, that ye sin not.” What things? Why, tidings of pardon and salvation, and of that nearness to God, to which you are brought by the precious blood of Christ. Now, lest also by this last exhortation he should yet be misunderstood, he adds, “And if any man sin, we have an Advocate with the rather, Jesus Christ the righteous.” I say, he addeth this to prevent desponding in those weak and sensible Christians that are so quick of feeling and of discerning the corruptions of their natures ; for these cry out continually that there is nothing that they do but it is attended with sinful weaknesses. 

Wherefore, in the words we are presented with two great truths—l. With a supposition, that men in Christ, while in this world, may sin—, “If any man sin;” any man; none are excluded; for all, or any one of the all of them that Christ hath redeemed and forgiven, are incident to sin. By “may” I mean, not a toleration, but a possibility; “For there is not a man, not a just man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not” (Ec 7:20; 1Ki 8:46). II. The other thing with which we are presented is, an Advocate—, “If any man sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.”

Now there lieth in these two truths two things to be inquired into, as-First, What the apostle should here mean by sin. Second, And also, what he here doth mean by an advocate— ”If any man sin, we have an Advocate.” There is ground to inquire after the first of these, because, though here he saith, they that sin have an advocate, yet in the very next chapter he saith, “Such are of the devil, have not seen God, neither know him, nor are of him.” There is ground also to inquire after the second, because an advocate is supposed in the text to be of use to them that sin—, “If any man sin, we have an Advocate.” 

First, For the first of these—to wit, what the apostle should here mean by sin—, “If any man sin.” 

I answer, since there is a difference in the persons, there must be a difference in the sin. That there is a difference in the persons is showed before; one is called a child of God, the other is said to be of the wicked one. Their sins differ also, in their degree at least; for no child of God sins to that degree as to make himself incapable of forgiveness; “for he that is begotten of God keepeth himself, and that wicked one toucheth him not” (1Jo 5:18). Hence, the apostle says, “There is a sin unto death” (v. 16). See also Mt 12:32. Which is the sin from which he that is born of God is kept. The sins therefore are thus distinguished: The sins of the people of God are said to be sins that men commit, the others are counted those which are the sins of devils. 

1. The sins of God’s people are said to be sins which men commit, and for which they have an Advocate, though they who sin after the example of the wicked one have none. “When a man or woman,” saith Moses, “shall commit any sin that men commit - they shall confess their sin - and an atonement shall be made for him” (Nu 5:5-7). Mark, it is when they commit a sin which men commit; or, as Hosea has it, when they transgress the commandment like Adam (Ho 6:7). Now, these are the sins under consideration by the apostle, and to deliver us from which, “we have an Advocate with the Father.” 

2. But for the sins mentioned in the third chapter, since the persons sinning go here under another character, they also must be of another stamp-to wit, a making head against the person, merits, and grace of Jesus Christ. These are the sins of devils in the world, and for these there is no remission. These, they also that are of the wicked one commit, and therefore sin after the similitude of Satan, and so fall into the condemnation of the devil. 

Second, But what is it for Jesus to be an Advocate for these? “If any man sin, we have an Advocate.” 

An advocate is one who pleadeth for another at any bar, or before any court of judicature; but of this more in its place. So, then, we have in the text a Christian, as supposed, committing sin, and a declaration of an Advocate prepared to plead for him—”If any man sin, we have an Advocate with the Father.” 

And this leads me first to inquire into what, by these words the apostle must, of necessity, presuppose? For making use here of the similitude or office of an advocate, thereby to show the preservation of the sinning Christian, he must, 

1. Suppose that God, as judge, is now upon the throne of his judgment; for an advocate is to plead at a bar, before a court of judicature. Thus it is among men; and forasmuch as our Lord Jesus is said to be an “Advocate with the Father,” it is clear that there is a throne of judgment also. This the prophet Micaiah affirms, saying, “I saw the Lord sitting on his throne, and all the host of heaven standing by him on his right hand and on his left” (1Ki 22:19). Sitting upon a throne for judgment; for from the Lord, as then sitting upon that throne, proceeded that sentence against king Ahab, that he should go and fall at Ramoth-gilead; and he did go, and did fall there, as the award or fruit of that judgment. That is the first. 

2. The text also supposeth that the saints as well as sinners are concerned at that bar; for the apostle saith plainly that there “we have an Advocate.” And the saints are concerned at that bar; because they transgress as well as others, and because the law is against the sin of saints as well as against the sins of other men. If the saints were not capable of committing of sin, what need would they have of an advocate (I Chron 21:3-6; 1Sa 12:13-14)?4 Yea, though they did sin, yet if they were by Christ so set free from the law as that it could by no means take cognizance of their sins, what need would they have of an advocate? None at all. If there be twenty places where there are assizes kept in this land, yet if I have offended no law, what need have I of an advocate? Especially if the judge be just, and knows me altogether, as the God of heaven does? But here is Judge that is just; and here is an Advocate also, an Advocate for the children, an Advocate to plead; for an advocate as such is not of use but before a bar to plead; therefore, here is an offence, and so a law broken by the saints as well as others. That is the second thing. 

4 The sin here referred to was numbering the people of Israel; see 1Ch 21:1—ED

3. As the text supposes that there is a judge, and crimes of saints, so it supposeth that there is an accuser, one that will carefully gather up the faults of good men, and that will plead them at this bar against them. Hence we read of “the accuser of our brethren, that accused them before our God day and night” (Re 12:10-12). For Satan doth not only tempt the godly man to sin, but, having prevailed with him, and made him guilty, he packs away to the court, to God the judge of all; and there addresses himself to accuse that man, and to lay to his charge the heinousness of his offence, pleading against him the law that he has broken, the light against which he did it, and the like. But now, for the relief and support of such poor people, the apostle, by the text, presents them with an advocate; that is, with one to plead for them, while Satan pleads against them; with one that pleads for pardon, while Satan, by accusing, seeks to pull judgment and vengeance upon our heads. “If any man sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.” That is the third thing.  4. As the apostle supposeth a judge, crimes, and an accuser, so he also supposeth that those herein concerned—to wit, the sinning children—neither can nor dare attempt to appear at this bar themselves to plead their own cause before this Judge and against this accuser; for if they could or durst do this, what need they have an advocate? for an advocate is of use to them whose cause themselves neither can nor dare appear to plead. Thus Job prayed for an advocate to plead his cause with God (Job 16:21); and David cries out, “Enter not into judgment with thy servant,” O God, “for in thy sight shall no man living be justified” (Ps 143:2). Wherefore, it is evident that saints neither can nor dare adventure to plead their cause. Alas! the Judge is the almighty and eternal God; the law broken is the holy and perfect rule of God, in itself a consuming fire. The sin is so odious, and a thing so abominable, that it is enough to make all the angels blush to hear it but so much as once mentioned in so holy a place as that is where this great God doth sit to judge. This sin now hangs about the neck of him that hath committed it; yea, it covereth him as doth a mantle. The adversary is bold, cunning, and audacious, and can word a thousand of us into an utter silence in less than half a quarter of an hour. What, then, should the sinner, if he could come there, do at this bar to plead? Nothing; nothing for his own advantage. But now comes in his mercy—he has an Advocate to plead his cause—”If any man sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.” That is the fourth thing. But again,   

5. The apostle also supposeth by the text there is an aptness in Christians when they have sinned, to forget that they “have an Advocate with the Father”; wherefore this is written to put them in remembrance—”If any may sin, [let him remember] we have an Advocate.” We can think of all other things well enough—namely, that God is a just judge, that the law is perfectly holy, that my sin is a horrible and an abominable thing, and that I am certainly thereof accused before God by Satan. 

These things, I say, we readily think of, and forget them not. Our conscience puts us in mind of these, our guilt puts us in mind of these, the devil puts us in mind of these, and our reason and sense hold the knowledge and remembrance of these close to us. All that we forget is, that we have an Advocate, “an Advocate with the Father”—that is, one that is appointed to take in hand in open court, before all the angels of heaven, my cause, and to plead it by such law and arguments as will certainly fetch me off, though I am clothed with filthy garments; but this, I say, we are apt to forget, as Job when he said, “O that one might plead for a man with God, as a man pleadeth for his neighbour!” (Job 16:21). Such an one Job had, but he had almost at this time forgot it; as he seems to intimate also where he wisheth for a daysman that might lay his hand upon them both (Job 9:33). But our mercy is, we have one to plead our cause, “an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous,” who will not suffer our soul to be spilt and spoiled before the throne, but will surely plead our cause. 

6. Another thing that the apostle would have us learn from the words is this, that to remember and to believe that Jesus Christ is an Advocate for us when we have sinned, is the next way to support and strengthen our faith and hope. Faith and hope are very apt to faint when our sins in their guilt do return upon us; nor is there any more proper way to relieve our souls than to understand that the Son of God is our Advocate in heaven. True, Christ died for our sins as a sacrifice, and as a priest he sprinkleth with his blood the mercyseat; ay, but here is one that has sinned after profession of faith, that has sinned grievously, so grievously that his sins are come up before God; yea, are at his bar pleaded against him by the accuser of the brethren, by the enemy of the godly. What shall he do now? Why, let him believe in Christ. Believe, that is true; but how now must he conceive in his mind of Christ for the encouraging of him so to do? Why, let him call to mind that Jesus Christ is an Advocate with the Father, and as such he meeteth the accuser at the bar of God, pleads for this man that has sinned against this accuser, and prevaileth for ever against him. Here now, though Satan be turned lawyer, though he accuseth, yea, though his charge against us is true, (for suppose that we have sinned,) “yet our Advocate is with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.” Thus is faith encouraged, thus is hope strengthened, thus is the spirit of the sinking Christian revived, and made to wait for a good deliverance from a bad cause and a cunning adversary; especially if you consider,

 7. That the apostle doth also further suppose by the text that Jesus Christ, as Advocate, if he will but plead our cause, let that be never so black, is able to bring us off, even before God’s judgment-seat, to our joy, and the confounding of our adversary; for when he saith, “We have an Advocate,” he speaks nothing if he means not thus. But he doth mean thus, he must mean thus, because he seeketh here to comfort and support the fallen. “Has any man sinned? We have an Advocate.” But what of that, if yet he be unable to fetch us off when charged for sin at the bar, and before the face of a righteous judge? 

But he is able to do this. The apostle says so, in that he supposes a man has sinned, as any man among the godly ever did; for we may understand it; and if he giveth us not leave to understand it so, he saith nothing to the purpose neither, for it will be objected by some—But can he fetch me off, though I have done as David, as Solomon, as Peter, or the like? It must be answered, Yes. The openness of the terms ANY MAN, the indefiniteness of the word SIN, doth naturally allow us to take him in the largest sense; besides, he brings in this saying as the chief, most apt, and fittest to relieve one crushed down to death and hell by the guilt of sin and a wounded conscience. 

Further, methinks by these words the apostle seems to triumph in his Christ, saying, My brethren, I would have you study to be holy; but if your adversary the devil should get the advantage of you, and besmear you with the filth of sin, you have yet, besides all that you have heard already, “an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous,” who is as to his person, in interest with God, his wisdom and worth, able to bring you off, to the comforting of your souls. 

Let me, therefore, for a conclusion as to this, give you an exhortation to believe, to hope, and expect, that though you have sinned, (for now I speak to the fallen saint) that Jesus Christ will make a good end with the—”Trust,” I say, “in him, and he shall bring it to pass.” I know I put thee upon a hard and difficult task for believing and expecting good, when my guilty conscience doth nothing but clog, burden, and terrify me with the justice of God, the greatness of thy sins, and the burning torments is hard and sweating work. But it must be; the text calls for it, thy case calls for it, and thou must do it, if thou wouldst glorify Christ; and this is the way to hasten the issue of thy cause in hand, for believing daunts the devil, pleaseth Christ, and will help thee beforehand to sing that song of the church, saying, “O Lord, thou hast pleaded the causes of my soul; thou hast redeemed my life” (La 3:58). Yea, believe, and hear thy pleading Lord say to thee, “Thus saith thy Lord the Lord, and thy God that pleadeth the cause of his people, Behold, I have taken out of thine hand the cup of trembling, even the dregs of the cup of my fury; thou shalt no more drink it again” (Isa 51:22). I am not here discoursing of the sweetness of Christ’s nature, but of the excellency of his offices, and of his office of advocateship in particular, which, as a lawyer for his client, he is to execute in the presence of God for us. Love may be where there is no office, and so where no power is to do us good; but now, when love and office shall meet, they will surely both combine in Christ to do the fallen Christian good. But of his love we have treated elsewhere; we will here discourse of the office of this loving one. And for thy further information, let me tell thee that God thy Father counteth that thou wilt be, when compared with his law, but a poor one all thy days; yea, the apostle tells thee so, in that he saith there is an Advocate provided for thee. When a father provides crutches for his child, he doth as good as say, I count that my child will be yet infirm; and when God shall provide an Advocate, he doth as good as say, My people are subject to infirmities. Do not, therefore, think of thyself above what, by plain texts, and fair inferences drawn from Christ’s offices, thou are bound to think. What doth it bespeak concerning thee that Christ is always a priest in heaven, and there ever lives to make intercession for thee (Heb 7:24), but this, that thou art at the best in thyself, yea, and in thy best exercising of all thy graces too, but a poor, pitiful, sorry, sinful man; a man that would, when yet most holy, be certainly cast away, did not thy high priest take away for thee the iniquity of thy holy things. The age we live in is a wanton age; the godly are not so humble, and low, and base in their own eyes as they should, though their daily experience calls for it, and the priesthood of Jesus Christ too. 

But above all, the advocateship of Jesus Christ declares us to be sorry creatures; for that office does, as it were, predict that some time or other we shall basely fall, and by falling be undone, if the Lord Jesus stand not up to plead. And as it shows this concerning us, so it shows concerning God that he will not lightly or easily lose his people. He has provided well for us— blood to wash us in; a priest to pray for us, that we may be made to persevere; and, in case we foully fall, an advocate to plead our cause, and to recover us from under, and out of all that danger, that by sin and Satan, we at any time may be brought into. 

But having thus briefly passed through that in the text which I think the apostle must necessarily presuppose, I shall now endeavour to enter into the bowels of it, and see what, in a more particular manner, shall be found therein. And, for my more profitable doing of this work, I shall choose to observe this method in my discourse—


 FIRST, I shall show you more particularly of this Advocate’s office, or what and wherein Christ’s office as Advocate doth lie. SECOND, After that, I shall also show you how Jesus Christ doth manage this office of an Advocate. THIRD, I shall also then show you who they are that have Jesus Christ for their Advocate. FOURTH, I shall also show you what excellent privileges they have, who have Jesus Christ for their Advocate. FIFTH, And to silence cavillers, I shall also show the necessity of this office of Jesus Christ. SIXTH, I shall come to answer some objections; and, LASTLY, To the use and application.


 FIRST, To begin with the first of these— namely, to show you more particularly of Christ’s office as an Advocate, and wherein it lieth; the which I shall do these three ways—First, Touch again upon the nature of this office; and then, Second, Treat of the order and place that it hath among the rest of his offices; and, Third, Treat of the occasion of the execution of this office. 

First, To touch upon the nature of this office. It is that which empowereth a man to plead for a man, or one man to plead for another; not in common discourses, and upon common occasions, as any man may do, but at a bar, or before a court of judicature, where a man is accused or impleaded by his enemy; I say, this Advocate’s office is such, both here, and in the kingdom of heaven. An advocate is as one of our attorneys, at least in the general, who pleads according to law and justice for one or other that is in trouble by reason of some miscarriage, or of the naughty temper of some that are about him, who trouble and vex, and labour to bring him into danger of the law. This is the nature of this office, as I said, on earth; and this is the office that Christ executeth in heaven. Wherefore he saith, “If any man sin, we have an Advocate”; one to stand up for him, and to plead for his deliverance before the bar of God. (Joe 3:2. Isa 66:16. Eze 38:22. Jer 2.) 

For though in some places of Scripture Christ is said to plead for his with men, and that by terrible arguments, as by fire, and sword, and famine, and pestilence, yet this is not that which is intended by this text; for the apostle here saith, he is an Advocate with the Father, or before the Father, to plead for those that there, or that to the Father’s face, shall be accused for their transgressions: “If any man sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.” So, then, this is the employ of Jesus Christ as he is for us, an Advocate. He has undertaken to stand up for his people at God’s bar, and before that great court, there to plead, by the law and justice of heaven, for their deliverance; when, for their faults, they are accused, indicted, or impleaded by their adversary. 

Second. And now to treat of the order or place that this office of Christ hath among the rest of his offices, which he doth execute for us while we are here in a state of imperfection; and I think it is an office that is to come behind as a reserve, or for a help at last, when all other means shall seem to fail. Men do not use to go to law upon every occasion; or if they do, the wisdom of the judge, the jury, and the court will not admit that every brangle and foolish quarrel shall come before them; but an Advocate doth then come into place, and then to the exercise of his office, when a cause is counted worthy to be taken notice of by the judge and by the court. Wherefore he, I say, comes in the last place, as a reserve, or help at last, to plead; and, by pleading, to set that right by law which would otherwise have caused an increase to more doubts, and to further dangers. 

Christ, as priest, doth always works of service for us, because in our most spiritual things there may faults and spots be found, and these he taketh away of course, by the exercise of that office; for he always wears that plate of gold upon his forehead before the Father, whereon is written, “Holiness to the Lord.” But now, besides these common infirmities, there are faults that are highly gross and foul, that oft are found in the skirts of the children of God. Now, there are they that Satan taketh hold on; these are they that Satan draweth up a charge against us for; and to save us from these, it is, that the Lord Jesus is made an Advocate. When Joshua was clothed with filthy garments, then Satan stood at his right hand to resist him; then the angel of the covenant, the Lord Jesus, pleaded for his help (Zec 3). By all which it appears, that this office comes behind, is provided as a reserve, that we may have help at a pinch, and then be lifted out, when we sink in mire, where there is no standing. 

This is yet further hinted at by the several postures that Christ is said to be in, as he exerciseth his priestly and advocate’s office. As a Priest, he sits; as an Advocate, he stands (Isa 3:13). The Lord stands up when he pleads; his sitting is more constant and of course (Sit thou, Ps 110:1,4), but his standing is occasional, when Joshua is indicted, or when hell and earth are broken loose against his servant Stephen. For as Joshua was accused by the devil, and as then the angel of the Lord stood by, so when Stephen was accused by men on earth, and that charge seconded by the fallen angels before the face of God, it is said, “the Lord Jesus stood on the right hand of God,” (Ac 7:55)—to wit, to plead; for so I take it, because standing is his posture as an Advocate, not as a Priest; for, as a Priest, he must sit down; but he standeth as an Advocate, as has been showed afore (Heb 10:12). Wherefore, 

Third. The occasion of his exercising of this office of advocate is, as hath been hinted already, when a child of God shall be found guilty before God of some heinous sin, of some grievous thing in his life and conversation. For as for those infirmities that attend the best, in their most spiritual sacrifices; if a child of God were guilty of ten thousand of them, they are of course purged, through the much incense that is always mixed with those sacrifices in the golden censer that is in the hand of Christ; and so he is kept clean, and counted upright, notwithstanding those infirmities; and, therefore, you shall find that, notwithstanding those common faults, the children of God are counted good and upright in conversation, and not charged as offenders. “David,” saith the text, “did that which was right in the eyes of the Lord, and turned not aside from any thing that he commanded him, all the days of his life, save only in the matter of Uriah the Hittite” (1Ki 15:5). But was David, in a strict sense, without fault in all things else? No, verily; but that was foul in a higher degree than the rest, and therefore there God sets a blot; ay, and doubtless for that he was accused by Satan before the throne of God; for here is adultery, and murder, and hypocrisy, in David’s doings; here is notorious matter, a great sin, and so a great ground for Satan to draw up an indictment against the king; and a thundering one, to be sure, shall be preferred against him. This is the time, then, for Christ to stand up to plead; for now there is room for such a question—Can David’s sin stand with grace? Or, Is it possible that a man that has done as he has, should yet be found a saint, and so in a saved state? Or, Can God repute him so, and yet be holy and just? or, Can the merits of the Lord Jesus reach, according to the law of heaven, a man in this condition? Here is a case dubious; here is a man whose salvation, by his foul offences, is made doubtful; now we must to law and judgment, wherefore now let Christ stand up to plead! I say, now was David’s case dubious; he was afraid that God would cast him away, and the devil hoped he would, and to that end charged him before God’s face, if, perhaps, he might get sentence of damnation to pass upon his soul (Ps 51). But this was David’s mercy, he had an Advocate to plead his cause, by whose wisdom and skill in matters of law and judgment he was brought off of those heavy charges, from those gross sins, and delivered from that eternal condemnation, that by the law of sin and death, was due thereto.  

This is then the occasion that Christ taketh to plead, as Advocate, for the salvation of his people—to wit, the cause: He “pleadeth the cause of his people” (Isa 51:22). Not every cause, but such and such a cause; the cause that is very bad, and by the which they are involved, not only in guilt and shame, but also in danger of death and hell. I say, the cause is bad, if the text be true, if sin can make it bad, yea, if sin itself be bad—”If any man sin, we have an Advocate”; an Advocate to plead for him; for him as considered guilty, and so, consequently, as considered in a bad condition. It is true, we must distinguish between the person and the sin; and Christ pleads for the person, not the sin; but yet He cannot be concerned with the person, but he must be with the sin; for though the person and the sin may be distinguished, yet they cannot be separated. He must plead, then, not for a person only, but for a guilty person, for a person under the worst of circumstances— ”If any man sin, we have an Advocate” for him as so considered. 

When a man’s cause is good, it will sufficiently plead for itself, yea, and for its master too, especially when it is made appear so to be, before a just and righteous judge. Here, therefore, needs no advocate; the judge himself will pronounce him righteous. This is evidently seen in Job—”Thou movedst me against him (this said God to Satan), to destroy him without cause” (Job 2:3). Thus far Job’s cause was good, wherefore he did not need an advocate; his cause pleaded for itself, and for its owner also. But if it was to plead good causes for which Christ is appointed Advocate, then the apostle should have written thus: If any man be righteous, we have an Advocate with the Father. Indeed, I never heard but one in all my life preach from this text, and he, when he came to handle the cause for which he was to plead, pretended it must be good, and therefore said to the people, See that your cause be good, else Christ will not undertake it. But when I heard it, Lord, thought I, if this be true, what shall I do, and what will become of all this people, yea, and of this preacher too? Besides, I saw by the text, the apostle supposeth another cause, a cause bad, exceeding bad, if sin can make it so. And this was one cause why I undertook this work. 

When we speak of a cause, we speak not of a person simply as so considered; for, as I said before, person and cause must be distinguished; nor can the person make the cause good but as he regulates his action by the Word of God. If, then, a good, a righteous, man doth what the law condemns, that thing is bad; and if he be indicted for so doing, he is indicted for a bad cause; and he that will be his advocate, must be concerned in and about a bad matter; and how he will bring his client off, therein doth lie the mystery. 

I know that a bad man may have a good cause depending before the judge, and so also good men have (Job 31). But then they are bold in their own cause, and fear not to make mention of it, and in Christ to plead their innocency before the God of heaven, as well as before men (Ps 71:3-5. 2Co 1:23. Ga 1:10. Php 1:8). But we have in the text a cause that all men are afraid of—a cause that the apostle concludes so bad that none but Jesus Christ himself can save a Christian from it. It is not only sinful, but sin itself—”If any man sin, we have an Advocate with the Father.” 

Wherefore there is in this place handled by the apostle, one of the greatest mysteries under heaven—to wit, that an innocent and holy Jesus should take in hand to plead for one before a just and righteous God, that has defiled himself with sin; yea, that he should take in hand to plead for such an one against the fallen angels, and that he should also by his plea effectually rescue, and bring them off from the crimes and curse whereof they were verily guilty by the verdict of the law, and approbation of the Judge.

This, I say, is a great mystery, and deserves to be pried into by all the godly, both because much of the wisdom of heaven is discovered in it, and because the best saint is, or may be, concerned with it. Nor must we by any means let this truth be lost, because it is the truth; the text has declared it so, and to say otherwise is to belie the Word of God, to thwart the apostle, to soothe up hypocrites, to rob Christians of their privilege, and to take the glory from the head of Jesus Christ (Lu 18:11-12). 

The best saints are most sensible of their sins, and most apt to make mountains of their mole hills. Satan also, as has been already hinted, doth labour greatly to prevail with them to sin, and to provoke their God against them, by pleading what is true, or by surmising evilly of them, to the end they may be accused by him (Job 2:9). Great is his malice toward them, great is his diligence in seeking their destruction; wherefore greatly doth he desire to sift, to try, and winnow them, if perhaps he may work in their flesh to answer his design— that is, to break out in sinful acts, that he may have by law to accuse them to their God and Father. Wherefore, for their sakes this text abides, that they may see that, when they have sinned, “they have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.” And thus have I showed you the nature, the order, and occasion of this office of our blessed Lord Jesus.


 II. I come now to show you how Jesus Christ doth manage this his office of an Advocate for us. And that I may do this to your edification, I shall choose this method for the opening of it— First. Show you how he manages this office with his Father. Second. I shall show you how he manages it before him against our adversary. 

First. How he manages this his office of Advocate with his Father. 

1. He doth it by himself, by no other as deputy under him, no angel, no saint; no work has place here but Jesus, and Jesus only. This the text implies: “We have an Advocate”; speaking of one, but one, one alone; without an equal or an inferior. We have but one, and he is Jesus Christ. Nor is it for Christ’s honour, nor for the honour of the law, or of the justice of God, that any but Jesus Christ should be an Advocate for a sinning saint. Besides, to assert the contrary, what doth it but lessen sin, and make the advocateship of Jesus Christ superfluous? It would lessen sin should it be removed by a saint or angel; it would make the advocateship of Jesus Christ superfluous, yea, needless, should it be possible that sin could be removed from us by either saint or angel. 

Again; if God should admit of more advocates than one, and yet make mention of never an one but Jesus Christ; or if John should allow another, and yet speak nothing but of Jesus only; yea, that an advocate under that title should be mentioned but once, but once only in all the book of God, and yet that divers should be admitted, stands neither with the wisdom or love of God, nor with the faithfulness of the apostle. But saints have but one Advocate, if they will use him, or improve their faith in that office for their help, so; if not, they must take what follows. This I thought good to hint at, because the times are corrupt, and because ignorance and superstition always wait for a countenance with us, and these things have a natural tendency to darken all truth, so especially this, which bringeth to Jesus Christ so much glory, and yieldeth to the godly so much help and relief. 

2. As Jesus Christ alone is Advocate, so God’s bar, and that alone, is that before which he pleads, for God is judge himself (De 32:36. Heb 12:23). Nor can the cause which now he is to plead be removed into any other court, either by appeals or otherwise. 

Could Satan remove us from heaven, to another court, he would certainly be too hard for us, because there we should want our Jesus, our Advocate, to plead our cause. Indeed, sometimes he impleads us before men, and they are glad of the occasion, for they and he are often one; but then we have leave to remove our cause, and to pray for a trial in the highest court, saying, “Let my sentence come forth from thy presence; let thine eyes behold the things that are equal” (Ps 17:2). This wicked world doth sentence us for our good deeds, but how then would they sentence us for our bad

ones? But we will never appeal from heaven to earth for right, for here we have no Advocate; “our Advocate is with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.” 

3. As he pleadeth by himself alone, and nowhere else but in the court of heaven with the Father, so as he pleadeth with the Father for us, he observeth this rule— 

(1.) He granteth and confesseth whatever can rightly be charged upon us; yet so as that he taketh the whole charge upon himself, acknowledging the crimes to be his own. “O God,” says he, “thou knowest my foolishness, and my sins”; my guiltiness “is not hid from thee” (Ps 69:5). And this he must do, or else he can do nothing. If he hides the sin, or lesseneth it, he is faulty; if he leaves it still upon us, we die. He must, then, take our iniquity to himself, make it his own, and so deliver us; for having thus taken the sin upon himself, as lawfully he may, and lovingly doth, “for we are members of his body” (‘tis his hand, ‘tis his foot, ‘tis his ear hath sinned), it followeth that we live if he lives; and who can desire more? 5This, then, must be thoroughly considered, if ever we will have comfort in a day of trouble and distress for sin. 

And thus far there is, in some kind, a harmony betwixt his being a sacrifice, a priest, and an Advocate. As a sacrifice, our sins were laid upon him (Isa 53). As a priest, he beareth them (Ex 28:38). And as an Advocate, he acknowledges them to be his own (Ps 69:5). Now, having acknowledged them to be his own, the quarrel is no more betwixt us and Satan, for the Lord Jesus has espoused our quarrel, and made it his. All, then, that we in this matter have to do, is to stand at the bar by faith among the angels, and see how the business goes. O blessed God! what a lover of mankind art thou! and how gracious is our Lord Jesus, in his thus managing matters for us. 

5 This is the great mystery of godliness—God manifest in the flesh, making sinful creatures the members of his own body, and becoming a sin-offering for them. It is a holy, a heavenly, a soul-comforting mystery, which should influence the Christian to an intense hatred to sin, as the cause of his Saviour’s sufferings; and a still more intense love to him, who redeemed us at such a sacrifice.—ED.

(2.) The Lord Jesus having thus taken our sins upon himself, next pleads his own goodness to God on our behalf, saying, “Let not them that wait on thee, O Lord God of hosts, be ashamed for my sake: let not those that seek thee be confounded for my sake, O God of Israel: because for thy sake I have borne reproach; shame hath covered my face” (Ps 69:6-7). Mark, let them not be ashamed for my sake, let them not be confounded for my sake. Shame and confusion are the fruits of guilt, or of a charge for sin, (Jer 3:25), and are but an entrance into condemnation (Da 12:2. Joh 5:29). But behold how Christ pleads, saying, Let not that be for my sake, for the merit of my blood, for the perfection of my righteousness, for the prevalency of my intercession. Let them not be ashamed for my sake, O Lord God of hosts. And let no man object, because this text is in the Psalms, as if it were not spoken by the prophet of Christ; for both John and Paul, yea, and Christ himself, do make this psalm a prophecy of him. Compare verse 9 (Ps 69:9) with Joh 2:17, and with Ro 15:3,21 with Mt 27:48, and Mr 15:25. But is not this a wonderful thing, that Christ should first take our sins, and account them his own, and then plead the value and worth of his whole self for our deliverance? For by these words, “for my sake,” he pleads his own self, his whole self, and all that he is and has; and thus he put us in good estate again, though our cause was very bad. 

To bring this down to weak capacities. Suppose a man should be indebted twenty thousand pounds, but has not twenty thousand farthings wherewith to pay; and suppose also that this man be arrested for this debt, and that the law also, by which he is sued, will not admit of a penny bate; this man may yet come well enough off, if his advocate or attorney will make the debt his own, and will, in the presence of the judges, out with his bags, and pay down every farthing. Why, this is the way of our Advocate. Our sins are called debts (Mt 6:12). We are sued for them at the law (Lu 12:59). And the devil is our accuser; but behold the Lord Jesus comes outwith his worthiness pleads it at the bar, making the debt his his own (Mr 10:45. 2Co 3:5). And saith, Now let them not be ashamed for my sake, O Lord God of hosts: let them not be confounded for my sake, O God of Israel. And hence, as he is said to be an Advocate, so he is said to be a propitiation, or amends-maker, or one that appeaseth the justice of God for our sins—”If any man sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; and he is the propitiation for our sins.” 

And who can now object against the deliverance of the child of God? God cannot; for he, for Christ’s sake, according as he pleaded, hath forgiven us all trespasses (Col 2:13; Eph 4:32). The devil cannot; his mouth is stopped, as is plain in the case of Joshua (Zec 3). The law cannot; for that approveth of what Christ has done. This, then, is the way of Christ’s pleading. You must know, that when Christ pleads with God, he pleads with a just and righteous God, and therefore he must plead law, and nothing but law; and this he pleaded in both these pleas—First, in confessing of the sin he justified the sentence of the law in pronouncing of it evil; and then in his laying of himself, his whole self, before God for that sin, he vindicated the sanction and perfection of the law. Thus, therefore, he magnifies the law, and makes it honourable, and yet brings off his client safe and sound in the view of all the angels of God. 

(3). The Lord Jesus having thus taken our sins upon himself, and presented God with all the worthiness that is in his whole self for them, in the next place he calleth for justice, or a just verdict upon the satisfaction he hath made to God and to his law. Then proclamation is made in open court, saying, “Take away the filthy garments from him,” from him that hath offended, and clothe him with change of raiment (Zec 3). 

Thus the soul is preserved that hath sinned; thus the God of heaven is content that he should be saved; thus Satan is put to confusion, and Jesus applauded and cried up by the angels of heaven, and by the saints on earth. Thus have I showed you how Christ doth advocate it with God and his Father for us; and I have been the more particular in this, because the glory of Christ, and the comfort of the dejected, are greatly concerned and wrapped up in it. Look, then, to Jesus, if thou hast sinned; to Jesus, as an Advocate pleading with the Father for thee. Look to nothing else; for he can tell how, and that by himself, to deliver thee; yea, and will do it in a way of justice, which is a wonder; and to the shame of Satan, which will be his glory; and also to thy complete deliverance, which will be thy comfort and salvation. 

Second, But to pass this and come to the second thing, which is, to show you how the Lord Jesus manages this his office of an Advocate before his Father against the adversary; for he pleadeth with the Father, but pleadeth against the devil; he pleadeth with the Father law and justice, but against the adversary he letteth out himself. 

I say, as he pleads against the adversary, so he enlargeth himself with arguments over and besides those which he pleadeth with God his Father.  Nor is it meet or needful that our advocate, when he pleads against Satan, should so limit himself to matter of law, as when he pleadeth with his Father. The saint, by sinning, oweth Satan nothing; no law of his is broken thereby; why, then, should he plead for the saving of his people, justifying righteousness to him? 

Christ, when he died, died not to satisfy Satan, but his Father; not to appease the devil, but to answer the demands of the justice of God; nor did he design, when he hanged on the tree, to triumph over his Father, but over Satan; “He redeemed us,” therefore, “from the curse of the law,” by his blood (Ga 3:13). And from the power of Satan, by his resurrection (Heb 2:14). He delivered us from righteous judgment by price and purchase; but from the rage of hell by fight and conquest. 

And as he acted thus diversely in the work of our redemption, even so he also doth in the execution of his Advocate’s office. When he pleadeth with God, he pleadeth so; and when he pleadeth against Satan, he pleadeth so; and how he pleadeth with God when he dealeth with law and justice I have showed you. And now I will show you how he pleadeth before him against the “accuser of the brethren.”

 1. He pleads against him the well-pleasedness that his Father has in his merits, saying, This shall please the Lord, or this doth or will please the Lord, better than anything that can be propounded (Ps 69:31). Now this plea being true, as it is, being established upon the liking of God Almighty; whatever Satan can say to obtain our everlasting destruction is without ground, and so unreasonable. “I am well pleased,” saith God (Mt 3:17); and again, “ The Lord is well pleased for his (Christ’s) righteousness’ sake” (Isa 42:21). All that enter actions against others, pretend that wrong is done, either against themselves or against the king. Now Satan will never enter an action against us in the court above, for that wrong by us has been done to himself; he must pretend, then, that he sues us, for that wrong has, by us, been done to our king. But, behold, “We have an Advocate with the Father,” and he has made compensation for our offences. He gave himself for our offences. But still Satan maintains his suit; and our God, saith Christ, is well pleased with us for this compensation-sake, yet he will not leave off his clamour. Come, then, says the Lord Jesus, the contention is not now against my people, but myself, and about the sufficiency of the amends that I have made for the transgressions of my people; but he is near that justifieth me, that approveth and accepteth of my doings, therefore shall I not be confounded. Who is mine adversary? Let him come near me! Behold, “the Lord God will help me” (Isa 50:7-9). Who is he that condemneth me? Lo, they all shall, were there ten thousand times as many more of them, wax old as a garment; the moth shall eat them up. Wherefore, if the Father saith Amen to all this, as I have showed already that he hath and doth, the which also further appeareth, because the Lord God has called him the Saviour, the Deliverer, and the Amen; what follows, but that a rebuke should proceed from the throne against him? And this, indeed, our Advocate calls for from the hand of his Father, saying, O enemy, “the Lord rebuke thee”; yea, he doubles this request to the judge, to intimate his earnestness for such a conclusion, or to show that the enemy shall surely have it, both from our Advocate, and from him before whom Satan has so grievously accused us (Zec 3). 

For what can be expected to follow from such an issue in law as this is, but sound and severe snibs from the judge upon him that hath thus troubled his neighbour, and that hath, in the face of the country, cast contempt upon the highest act of mercy, justice, and righteousness, that ever the heavens beheld?6 And all this is true with reference to the case in hand, wherefore, “The Lord rebuke thee,” is that which, in conclusion, Satan must have for the reward of his works of malice against the children, and for his contemning of the works of the Son of God. Now, our Advocate having thus established, by the law of heaven, his plea with God for us against our accuser, there is way made for him to proceed upon a foundation that cannot be shaken; wherefore, he proceedeth in his plea, and further urges against this accuser of the brethren. 

6 Altered, by a typographical error, in editions after the author’s death, to “the heathens beheld.”—ED.

2. God’s interest in this people; and prayeth that God would remember that: “The Lord rebuke thee, O Satan; the Lord that hath chosen Jerusalem, rebuke thee.” True, the church, the saints, are despicable in the world; wherefore men do think to tread them down; the saints are, also, weak in grace, but have corruptions that are strong, and, therefore, Satan, the god of this world, doth think to tread them down; but the saints have a God, the living, the eternal God, and, therefore, they shall not be trodden down; yea, they “shall be holden up, for God is able to make them stand” (Ro 14:4). 

It was Haman’s mishap to be engaged against the queen, and the kindred of the queen; it was that that made him he could not prosper; that brought him to contempt and the gallows. Had he sought to ruin another people, probably he might have brought his design to a desired conclusion; but his compassing the death of the queen spoiled all. Satan, also, when he fighteth against the church, must be sure to come to the worst, for God has a concern in that; therefore, it is said, “The gates of hell shall not prevail against it”; but this hindereth not but that he is permitted to make almost what spoils he will of those that belong not to God. Oh, how many doth he accuse, and soon get out from God, against them, a license to destroy them! as he served Ahab, and many more. But this, I say, is a very great block in his way when he meddles with the children; God has an interest in them—”Hath God cast away his people? God forbid!” (Ro 11:1-2). The text intimates that they for sin had deserved it, and that Satan would fain h