The Work of Jesus Christ as an Advocate
by John Bunyan
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But, I say, what is this to them that are not admitted to a privilege in the advocate-office of Christ? Whether he is an Advocate or no, the case to them is the same. True, Christ as a Saviour is not divided; he that hath him not in all, shall have him in none at all of his offices in a saving manner. Therefore, he for whom he is not an Advocate, he is nothing as to eternal life.

Indeed, Christ by some of his offices is concerned for the elect, before by some others of them he is; but such shall have the blessing of them all before they come to glory. Nor hath man ground to say Christ is here or there mine, before he hath ground to say, he also is mine Advocate; though that office of his, as has been already showed, stands in the last place, and comes in as a reserve. But can any imagine that Christ will pray for them as Priest for whom he will not plead as Advocate? or that he will speak for them to God for whom he will not plead against the devil? No, no; they are his own, that he loveth to the end, (John 13:1), to the end of their lives, to the end of their sins, to the end of their temptations, to the end of their fears, and of the exercise of the rage and malice of Satan against them. To the end may also be understood, even until he hath given them the profit and benefit of all his offices in their due exercise and administration. But, I say, what is all this to them that have him not for their Advocate?

You may remember that I have already told you that there are several who have not the Lord Jesus for their Advocate-to wit, those that are still in their sins, pursuing of their lusts; those that are ashamed of him before men; and those that are never otherwise but lukewarm in their profession. And let us now, for a conclusion, make further inquiry into this matter.

Is it likely that those should have the Lord Jesus for their Advocate to plead their cause; who despise and reject his person, his Word, and ways? or those either who are so far off from sense of, and shame for, sin, that it is the only thing they hug and embrace? True, he pleadeth the cause of his people both with the Father and against the devil, and all the world besides; but open profaneness, shame of good, and without heart or warmth in religion, are no characters of his people. It is irrational to think that Christ is an Advocate for, or that he pleadeth the cause of such, who, in the self-same hour, and before his enemies, are throwing dirt in his face by their profane mouths and unsanctified lives and conversations.

If he pleads as an Advocate for any, he must plead against Satan for them, and so consequently must have some special bottom to ground his plea upon; I say, a bottom better than that upon which the carnal man stands; which bottom is either some special relation that this man stands in to God, or some special law he hath privilege by, that he may have some ground for an appeal, if need be, to the justice and righteousness of God; but none of these things belong to them that are dead in trespasses and sins; they stand in no special relation to God: they are not privileged by the law of grace.

Objection.-But doth not Christ as Advocate plead for his elect, though not called as yet?

Answer.-He died for all his elect, he prayeth for all his elect as a Priest, but as an Advocate he pleadeth only for the children, the called only. Satan objecteth not against God's election, for he knows it not; but he objecteth against the called-to wit, whether they be truly godly or no, or whether they ought not to die for their transgressions (Job 1:9, 10; Zech 3). And for these things he has some colour to frame an accusation against us, and now it is time enough for Christ to stand up to plead. I say, for these things he has some colour to frame a plea against us; for there is sin and a law of works, and a judge too, that has not respect of persons. Now to overthrow this plea of Satan, is Jesus Christ our Advocate; yea, to overthrow it by pleading law and justice; and this must be done with respect to the children only-"My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous."


1 "Nulled"; repealed or annulled.-ED.

2 "Ingenuity"; ingenuousness, frankness, sincerity.-ED.

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.

4 The sin here referred to was numbering the people of Israel; see I Chronicles 21:1-ED..

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.

6 Altered, by a typographical error, in editions after the author's death, to "the heathens beheld."-ED.

7 "Replevy": a form of law by which goods that are proved to have been wrongfully seized are re-delivered to the owner.-ED.

8 "Donator"; giver, donor; now obsolete.-ED.

9 "Prevented"; gone before, so as to be seen. "Let thy grace, O Lord, always prevent and follow us."-Common Prayer.-ED.

10This may refer to Bunyan's own feelings, which are so passionately expressed in his Grace Abounding, No. 327, when he was dragged from his home, his wife, and his children, to be shut up in Bedford jail, for obedience to God. He exclaims, "My poor blind child, who lay nearer my heart than all I had besides, thou must be beaten, must beg, suffer hunger, cold, nakedness, and a thousand calamities, though I cannot now endure that the wind should blow upon thee. I thought this would break my heart to pieces."-ED.

11 "A hank"; a check, an influence over; obsolete.-ED.

12 "Entertains his lawyer"; hires or retains. So Shakespeare-"Sweet lady, entertain him, To be my fellow-servant to your ladyship." Gentleman of Verona, Scene IV.-ED.

13 "Shuff"; from the old Saxon word schufan, to reject, cast away.-ED.

14 "Supply of thy defects"; a sufficiency in himself to supply all thy defects and deficiencies.-ED.

15 "Supersedeas"; a writ to stay proceedings, for reasons expressed in it. "Cavils and motions"; quibbles or quirks of special pleading, and moving a court of law to occasion delay and weary out an honest suitor; much of this nuisance has been abated, but enough remains to render a lawsuit uncertain, vexatious, tedious, and expensive.-ED.

16 "Glaver;" to wheedle, flatter, or fawn upon; now obsolete.-ED.

17 This sentence at first sight seems obscure. The children's bread is the superabounding riches of Divine grace. Satan putting pins into it, may refer to those who profanely pervert the grace of God to evil, by saying, "Let us do evil, that good may come. Whose damnation is just." These are the dogs who are without, but never were within the fold of Christ. (Phil 3:2, Rev 22:15)-ED.

18 Dr. Watts beautifully illustrates this soul-supporting truth in his hymn (116, verse 2):-"How can I sink with such a prop, As my eternal God, Who bears the earth's huge pillars up, And spreads the heavens abroad?"-ED.

19 "The whole tale"; the whole number as reckoned and ascertained; nothing being lost.-ED.

20 In the first edition of this treatise, this quotation is from Joshua 3:4, an error which has been continued through every edition to the present one.-ED.

21 "A demur"; now called a demurrer, is when a defect or legal difficulty is discovered, which must first be settled by the judge before the action or proceedings can be carried on.-ED.

22 How consoling a reflection is this to the distressed soul, "Christ never lost a cause." "Him that cometh to me, I will in no wise cast out." "They shall never perish; nor shall any pluck them out of my hand" (John 10:28)-ED.

23 "Nonsuit"; the giving up a suit upon the discovery of some fatal error or defect in the cause.-ED.

24 There is no night in heaven; it is one eternal day; no need of rest or sleep. Christ ever liveth to make intercession for us.-ED.

25 The marginal readings which are found in our venerable version of the Bible are very interesting, both to the unlearned and to the scholar. They often throw a light upon the Scripture. For "and make him honourable," see Bishop Patrick and Dr. Gill's annotations.-ED.

26 To draw back from, or in, our dependence upon Christ for salvation, is a distinction which every despairing backslider should strive to understand. The total abandonment of Christianity is perdition, while he who is overcome of evil may yet repent to the salvation of the soul.-ED.

27 "Like as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear him." He punishes but to restore them in his own time to the paths of peace.-ED.

28 How full of sweet consolation is this spiritual exposition of the Levitical law. It was a type or shadow of good things which were to come. Bunyan possessed a heavenly store of these apt illustrations.-ED.

29 "Branglings"; noisy quarrels or squabbles. "The payment of tithes is subject to many brangles."-Swift. It is now obsolete, and is substituted by wranglings.-ED.

30 The poor backslider "is blind and cannot see afar off"; this does not affect his title, but is fatal to any present prospect of the enjoyment of his inheritance.-ED.

31 Every sin, however comparatively small, drives us to the mediation of Christ, but it is under a sense of great sins that we feel how precious he is as an Advocate.-ED.

32 What can we render to the Lord? is an inquiry perpetually fostered by the pride that clings to every believer. The world, and all things in it, are his already. We must, as poor trembling beggars, "take the cup of salvation and call upon the name of the Lord,"-rely upon his free gift of a full salvation. All must be done for us gratis, or we must perish. Yes, proud sinner, you must sue as a pauper, or you can never succeed.-ED.

33 In the form of a pauper, one who has nothing to pay with, but is living upon alms.-ED.

34 This Greek word is only once translated "advocate" in the New Testament; but it is used in the Gospel by John (14, 15, 16), and translated Comforter, and applied to the Holy Spirit. Thus, the Holy Ghost is to the Christian [the Greek word ] a monitor or comforter; and our ascended Lord is [the Greek word ] the advocate before his Father's throne. Both are our counsel-the Spirit to guide, the Saviour to defend, the saints.-ED.

35 The Bible is the only perspective glass by which we can know futurity, and see things that, to carnal eyes, are invisible.-ED.

36 "Ingenuity"; ingenuousness, frankness, candour, generosity: now obsolete in this sense.-ED.

37 "Rovers"; without any definite aim. "Nature shoots not at rovers."-Glanville.-ED


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