John Bunyan’s Merciful Appeal to Sinners

 

John Bunyan’s merciful appeal to sinners:

There is a people that therefore fear lests 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 this world, than this text fits such a kind of sinners.  As face answers face in the glass, so this text answers 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 greatest sinners.  And what then?  Why, the text meets him in the very face, and says, Christ offers mercy to the biggest sinners, to the very Jerusalem sinners.  What more can be objected?  No, he does not only offer them His mercy, but to them it is commanded to the 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, as far as wicked hearts go, they have no competition in the world?

Objection:  But I have a heart as hard as a rock.

Answer:  Well, but this only proves you are a greatest sinner.

 

Objection: But my heart continually frets against the Lord.

Answer:   Well, but this only proves you are a greatest sinner.

 

Objection:  But I have been desperate in sinful courses.

Answer:  Well, stand with the number of greatest sinners.

 

Objection:  But my gray head is found in the way of wickedness.

Answer:  Well, you stand in the rank of the greatest sinners.

 

Objection but I have not only a base heart, but I have lived an immoral life.

Answer:  You stand among those called the greatest sinners.  And what then?  Why the text swoops you all; you cannot object yourselves beyond the text.  It has a particular message to the greatest sinners.  I say it swoops you all.

 

Objection:  But I am reprobate.

Answer:  Now you are talking foolishly, and where you do not understand:  No sin, but the final impenitence, can prove a man a reprobate; and I am sure you have not arrived as yet to that; therefor you do not understand what you are saying, when making groundless conclusions against yourself.  Say you are a sinner, and I will say too;  Yes, say you are one of the greatest sinners, and spare not;  for the text is yet beyond you, is yet between hell and you; “Begin at Jerusalem” has yet a smile on you;  and you talk as if you were a reprobate, and the greatness of your sins prove you to be, When yet they in Jerusalem were not such, whose sins, I dare say, were such, both for greatness and heinousness, as you are not capable of committing beyond them; unless now, after you have received conviction that the Lord Jesus is the only Savior of the world, you should wickedly and despitefully turn yourself from him,  and conclude he is not to be trusted for life, and so crucify him for a cheat afresh……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 honorable 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 you will object, that you have a thousand times preferred stinking lust before him:  I answer, Be it so; it is but what is common to men to do; nor does the Lord Jesus make such a foolish life a bar to you, to forbid you coming to him, or a bond to his grace, that is might be kept from you; but admits of your turning to him away from sin, and He offers himself to you freely, as you stand among the Jerusalem sinners. 

Take therefor encouragement, man; mercy is, by the text held forth to the greatest sinners;  Yes, put yourself into the number of the worst, by believing you may be one of the first, and may not be put of until the greatest sinners are served;  for the greatest sinners are invited first; consequently if they come, they are likely to be the first that shall be served.


Text was slightly modernized -Paul M.

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