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1852 Feb 27 Mufto the poricone Poaptist Chtlucatie Sunety
Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1850, by the
AMERICAN BAPTIST PUBLICATION SOCIETY, In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States
in and for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.
In presenting to the public another volume of Bunyan's Practical Works, it is thought proper to indicate briefly its general design as a whole, and the peculiar characteristics of the several treatises here associated together, to aid in accomplishing that design.
The present volume is designed immediately to follow the volume of his Awakening Works, just issued from the press of our Publication Society; and is therefore made up of pieces of an opposite tendency; that is, of such as are addressed to awakened sinners, and directly adapted to invite and encourage them to come to Christ for salvation. Within this specific design, however, it will be found that a very wide range of cases and characters is embraced by the keenly observant, sympathizing and comprehensive mind of the Author. Besides the favorite work, “The Jerusalem Sinner Saved,” it includes the two excellent pieces entitled “Come and Welcome to Jesus Christ,” and “Christ a Complete Saviour.” The Author's Last Sermon, on the New Birth, is added, as in its doctrinal connection, a fitting close to this volume of Bunyan's Inviting Works.
Robert Philip, in his “Life and Times of Bunyan,” has devoted a whole chapter to the first treatise in this volume" The Jerusalem Sinner Saved.” It was first issued from the press, it seems, early in 1688, six months before the Author's death; but this gives us no clue to the time of its composition, which must have been years before. Philip calls it Bunyan's favorite sermon, and adds, “I call it his favorite, because he says he preached it often, and but seldom without success. It is only common-place at first; but
it soon breathes and burns with all the energy and ingenuity of , the Author.” Here is a brief specimen. Having shown that
Jerusalem sinners were the greatest of sinners, Bunyan exclaims, “Christ, as he sits on his Throne of Grace, pointeth over the heads of thousands, directly to such a man, and says,
Come. Wherefore since He says Come-let the angels make a lane, and all men make room, that the Jerusalem sinner may come to Christ for mercy !” See the whole of this fine passage : pp. 71, 72
The second treatise in this volume was published in 1680, about eight years earlier than the “ Jerusalem Sinner Saved,” but was probably a later composition. It is longer and more elaborate. It enters far more deeply into the plan of Divine Grace, and draws a thousand fresh encouragements for the coming sinner, from those deeper and less explored fountains that gush up under the cool shadow of the Rock of Ages. Robert Philip thus speaks of it. " His next book was the well known Come and Welcome to Jesus Christ;' a work not very easily characterized in a few words, although as highly characteristic of himself, perhaps, as any thing he ever wrote. He cries both 'Come'and "Welcome,' with equal energy and impartiality, to all who have any wish to come.” Even to the Backslider, Bunyan says, “The Text makes no exception against thee. It doth not say any 'him,' but a Backslider; but indefinitely openeth wide its golden arms to every coming soul without exception. Therefore thou mayest come.” Again, “God hath prepared a Golden Altar for thee to offer thy prayers and tears upon. It is called golden to show its worth. It is Christ. This Altar then makes thy Groans, golden groans; thy Tears, golden tears; thy Prayers, goldenpra yers in the eye of that God thou comest to.” But the following image breathes a still sweeter tenderness. “God hath strewed all the way from the gate of Hell to the gate of Heaven, with
flowers out of his own garden. Behold how the Promises, Invitations, Calls, lie around thee like lilies. Take heed that thou do not tread them under foot, sinner!"
The third piece in this volume was never published in the Author's lifetime. It is numbered 53, in Doe's Catalogue of Bunyan's Works. It is eminently suited to follow the other two, because it opens a new source of unfailing hope to those who come to Christ, and unfolds more distinctly the great object and ends to be thus secured-even the full and final enjoyment of God for ever. It thus happily blends a higher confirmation of faith with the warm and urgent invitations that have been given before.
As this treatise is little known among us, the following specimen of its spirit may rouse attention. “Since Christ is an Intercessor, I infer that believers should not rest at the cross for comfort. Justification they should look for there; but being justified by his blood, they should ascend up after him to the throne. At the cross you will see him in his sorrows and humiliations, in his tears and blood; but follow him to where he now is, and then you shall see him in his robes, in his priestly robes, and with his golden girdle about his breast. Then you shall see him wearing the breastplate of judgment, and with all your names written upon his heart. Then you shall perceive, that the whole family in heaven and earth is named by him, and how he prevaileth with God, the Father of mercies for you. Stand still awhile, and listen! Yea, enter with boldness into the holiest ! and see your Jesus, as he now appears in the presence of God for you; what work he makes against the devil, and sin, and death, and hell, for you. Ah, it is brave, following Jesus Christ into the holiest! The vail is rent! You may see with open face, as in a glass, the glory of the Lord.”
The short discourse on the New Birth, which closes the volume, will be found appropriate and instructive, notwithstanding its brevity. In no other of his works has he professedly handled this topic, though it is one which powerfully affected him at a critical period of his life, and led to his conversion. His own account of it, in his “Grace Abounding,” is so extremely interesting, that we give it here. “Poor wretch as I was, I was all this while ignorant of Jesus Christ, and going about to establish my own righteousness; and had perished therein, had not God, in mercy, showed me more of my state by nature. But upon a day, the good providence of God called me to Bedford, to work on my calling; and in one of the streets of that town, I came where there were three or four poor women sitting at a door in the sun, talking about the things of God; and being now willing to hear their discourse, I drew near—for I was now a brisk talker of myself, in the matter of religion. But I may say I heard, but understood not; for they were far above out of my reach. Their talk was about a new birth, the work of God in their hearts; as also how they were convinced of their miserable state by nature. They talked how God had visited their souls with his love in the Lord Jesus; and with what words and promises they had been refreshed, comforted, and supported against the temptations of the devil. And methought they spake as if joy did make them speak,” &c.
One can scarcely doubt that this very scene was in Bunyan’s recollection, when he says in the close of this sermon on the New Birth, “If you be the king's children, live like the king's children. If you be risen with Christ, set your affection on things above, and not on things below. When you come together, talk of what your Father has promised. you. You should all love your Father's will, and be content, and pleased with the exercises you meet with in the world.— Dost thou see a soul that has the image of God in him? Love him, love him; say, “this man and I must go to heaven one day!” Such beautiful sentiments acquire a new force from the fact that they were uttered in his LAST SERMON.
"It is” says the Eclectic Review “a melancholy fact in the