John Bunyan was born in England in 1628 into a very poor family. Though he had very little formal education, he learned to read and read all kinds of stories about gallantry and knights. In his early years, his foul mouth shocked even evil men. Though he attended church, he loved things Puritans considered improper, such as dancing and Sunday sports.
He turned 16 at the height of Britain’s Civil War, in 1644. At one point, he was selected as part of a siege, but another soldier requested the spot. That soldier was shot during sentinel duty, and John took that as a sign God meant him to do something great for Him.
He returned home and married at the age of 20. Still poor, the couple didn’t even have dishes, but her father had given them two Christian books, which John found troubling. During a sports game on Sunday, his conscience bothered him. He heard a voice, “Will you leave your sins and go to Heaven, or have your sins and go to Hell?” He changed his behavior, leaving behind swearing and Sunday sports, though he still desired them, and reading the Bible. He assumed God was pleased with him, even though he found no peace, until one day when he overheard some women discussing an internal experience and realized he was lacking something. He didn’t understand until he read Luther’s commentary on Galatians, in which he learned about being justified by faith.
Bunyan began preaching everywhere, even though preaching in the streets was illegal. He was arrested and sentenced to three months in prison, which was a real hardship in that time, with little light, no way to bathe, and overcrowding, as well as too little food and separation from loved ones. He was offered his freedom at the end of the three months with the condition that he would not preach anymore; he refused and ended up continuing in prison for twelve years. During that time, he wrote sixty books, including The Pilgrim’s Progress.
For if we freely let our lusts reign, it is sin. While it seems bad to hold back such feeling based on our opinions, yet not to do so is worse. When a person stumbles accidentally it is bad enough, but allowing your lusts to go unbridled leads into the snare.
So, when the battle was over, Christian said, “I will here give thanks to Him that hath delivered me out of the mouth of the lion; to Him that did help me against Apollyon.” And so he did, saying: “Great Satan, the captain of this fiend, Designed my ruin; therefore to this end He sent him harnessed out: and he with rage That hellish was, did fiercely me engage; But blessed angels helped me; and I, By dint of sword, did quickly make him fly: Therefore to God let me give lasting praise, And thank and bless His holy name always.
The Word of God gives wounded Christian the victory. God renews his hope with His own promises, and Christian gives the Destroyer a deadly thrust resulting in a mortal wound to the enemy of the pilgrim’s soul. Christian on his own could not defeat Apollyon. The sword of the Word of God is the only instrument that can accomplish such a task.
There is an endless kingdom to be enjoyed, and everlasting life to be given us, that we may live in that kingdom forever.
The bitter must come before the sweet, and that also will make the sweet the sweeter.
Your heart may tell you one thing, but it is the Word of God that must bear witness in this matter; any other testimony is of no value.
He hath cause also 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 churches; and that by them he is made a servant to the church; and he must also give at last an account of his stewardship unto the Lord Jesus, and to give a good account will be a blessed thing.
These troubles and distresses you are experiencing in these waters are no indication that God has abandoned you. Rather, they are sent to test you to see whether or not you will recall the evidences of his past goodness and rely upon him in your present distresses.
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.
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.
You have not lived today until you have done something for someone who can never repay you.
The reason why the Christians in this day are at such a loss as to some things is that they are contented with what comes from man’s mouth, without searching and kneeling before God to know of Him the truth of things.
You can do more than pray after you have prayed, but you cannot do more than pray until you have prayed. Pray often, for prayer is a shield to the soul, a sacrifice to God, and a scourge to Satan.
One leak will sink a ship, and one sin will destroy a sinner.
If we have not quiet in our minds, outward comfort will do no more for us than a golden slipper on a gouty foot.
It could be a sign of pride in your life if a word of reproof or admonition is not able to be received with the same grace, whether it be given by the poorest of saints or the most educated person.
Here is the life of prayer, when in or with the Spirit, a man being made sensible of sin, and how to come to the Lord for mercy; he comes, I say, in the strength of the Spirit, and crieth Father. That one word spoken in faith is better than a thousand prayers, as men call them, written and read, in a formal, cold, lukewarm way.
When thou prayest, rather let thy heart be without words, than thy words without a heart.
Indeed this is one of the greatest mysteries in the world – namely, that a righteousness that resides with a Person in heaven should justify me, a sinner on earth.
In times of affliction we commonly meet with the sweetest experiences of the love of God.