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 (Titus 3:2,3).
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.
[A gentle reproof.]
Remember your Lord, he was familiar with publicans and sinners to a proverb: 'Behold a man gluttonous, and a wine-bibber, a friend of publicans and sinners' (Matt 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' (John 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' (1 John 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.
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 (Luke 13:6; Matt 13:37-40). And that was the devil. But why doth 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 Acts 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, O 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.
[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 (2 Cor 6:2; Heb 3:13-19; 4:7; Luke 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 (Psa 50:22; Eccl 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 (Prov 1:20-30; Isa 65:12-16; 66:4; Zech 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 doth 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 (Matt 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 (Gen 17:25; 21:2-11; Gal 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' (Gen 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 (Prov 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,' b eing 'seared with a hot iron' (Eph 4:18,19; 1 Tim 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 (John 5:25).
(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 lovest, 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 (Hosea 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 dost 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; 13:15-17).
(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 (Hosea 2:6-15; Psa 73:3-13; Rom 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 (Luke 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? O 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' (Deu 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' (2 Peter 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
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 doth 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' (John 6:37; Rev 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 (Matt 9:34; 12:24,25,&c.; Mark 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; 1 Cor 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.
(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 doth 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 (1 Tim 1:13-15; Mark 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
1 Having preached many times, and from various texts, upon this subject, the whole substance of many sermons is here published.—Ed.
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.
3 The higher a people rise under the means, the lower will be their fall if they slight them. O highly-favoured England! Tyre and Sidon, Sodom and Gomorrah, will have a milder hell than thy carnal, hypocritical, Christless children.—Mason.
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.
5 In this quotation, Bunyan has followed the reading in the Genevan or Puritan version.—Ed.
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.
7 This quotation is from the Genevan or Puritan version—Ed.
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.
9 'Rowl in his bowels'; intense affection: see Philemon 12.—Ed.
10 'Wheals'; pimples, or small swellings filled with matter.—Ed.
11 'As physicians do' can now hardly be understood. In Bunyan's days, all physicians put forth their bills of 'wonderful cures.'—Ed.
12 'Hedge-creepers'; footpads.—Ed.
13 O 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.
14 This idea is most ingeniously and admirably displayed in Bunyan's beautiful allegory, 'The Holy War.'—Ed.
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.
16 Among all the wondrous sights that angels witness, one gives them peculiar joy—it is the poor penitent prodigal returning to God, Luke 15:10.—Ed.
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.
19 'I stunck,' in the original edition, probably meant, 'I stuck'; but all the later editions have, 'I stunk.'—Ed.
20 'Clouts'; patches, Joshua 9:5
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
26 'Swoop'; to seize as a hawk does his prey.—Ed.
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 (Psa 143).—Ed.
28 'At the catch.' See the dialogue between Faithful and Talkative in 'The Pilgrim's Progress.'—Ed.
29 Printed, 'far,' in the first and second editions; altered to 'fast,' in third and subsequent editions.—Ed.
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.
31 Quoted from the Puritan or Genevan version of the Bible; our translation has, 'He that covereth.'—Ed.
32 'Long of Jesus Christ'; a provincial expression, meaning 'all this belongs to us by Jesus Christ.'—Ed.
33 How admirable an illustration is this of the Slough of Despond, into which Christian and Pliable fell in 'The Pilgrim's Progress.'—Ed.
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.
35 The treasures of this bank are inexhaustible and unsearchable. Oh for faith, that we may draw largely upon its infinite riches!—Ed.
36 'Incidence'; the direction with which one body strikes another; now obsolete.—Ed.
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
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.
39 'Be so taunted'; in editions previous to 1697.—Ed.
40 'At least wise'; to say the least.—Ed.
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' (Acts 13:48).—Ed.
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.
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.