J O H N - B U N Y A N' s
By J O H N.B U N Y
A collection of aphorisms gathered and classified under headings.
They are his thoughts, whether uttered in his last illness, or expressed earlier in life.
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.
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
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.
OF REPENTANCE AND COMING TO CHRIST.
Before you enter into prayer, ask thy soul these
questions--1. To what end, O 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
When thou prayest, rather let thy heart 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.
OF THE LORD'S DAY, SERMONS, AND WEEK DAYS.
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 thou not 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 practising
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.
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
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 doth 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?
OF THE LOVE OF THE WORLD.
Nothing more hinders a soul from coming to Christ, than a
vain love of the world; and until a soul is freed from it, it can never have a true love
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.
OF DEATH AND JUDGMENT.
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
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, if thou 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. The trial we have before God is of
other-guise importance, it concerns our eternal happiness or misery; and yet dare we
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 posing ourselves which of the two we shall be.
OF THE JOYS OF HEAVEN.
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.
O! 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?
O! 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
knit 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.
OF THE TORMENTS OF HELL.
Heaven and salvation are not surely more promised to the
godly, than hell and damnation is threatened to and executed on the wicked.
When once a man is damned, he may bid adieu to all
O! who knows the power of God's wrath.? none but damned
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 no 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.
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