The Pilgrim: You Have to Kill It on the First Shot

Consider thou must die but once—I mean but once as to this world; for if thou, when thou goest hence, dost not die well, thou canst not come back again and die better. —John Bunyan, The Acceptable Sacrifice

The Pilgrim: U-G-L-Y

Suppose a company of ugly, uncomely, deformed persons dwelt together in one house; and suppose that they never yet saw any man or woman more than themselves, or that were arrayed with the splendours and perfections of nature; these would not be capable of comparing themselves with any but themselves, and consequently would not be affected and made sorry for their uncomely natural defections. But now bring them out of their cells and holes of darkness, where they have been shut up by themselves, and let them take a view of the splendour and perfections of beauty that are in others, and then, if at all, they will be sorry and dejected at the view of their own defects. This is the case; men by sin are marred, spoiled, corrupted, depraved, but they may dwell by themselves in the dark; they see neither God, nor angels, nor saints, in their excellent nature and beauty: and therefore they are apt to count their own uncomely parts their ornaments and their glory. But now let such, as I said, see God, see saints, or the ornaments of the Holy Ghost, and themselves as they are without them, and then they cannot but must be affected with and sorry for their own deformity. When the Lord Christ put forth but little of his excellency before his servant Peter’s face, it raised up the depravity of Peter’s nature before him to his great confusion and shame; and made him cry out to him in the midst of all his fellows, ‘Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord’ (Luke 5:4-8).

This therefore is the cause of a broken heart, even a sight of divine excellencies, and a sense that I am a poor, depraved, spoiled defiled wretch; and this sight having broken the heart, begets sorrow in the broken-hearted. —John Bunyan, The Acceptable Sacrifice

The Pilgrim: A Hammer Beyond Thor

The instrument with which the heart is broken, and with which the spirit is made contrite, is the Word. …This rock, this adamant, this stony heart, is broken and made contrite by the Word. But it only is so, when the Word is as a fire, and as a hammer to break and melt it. And then, and then only, it is as a fire, and a hammer to the heart to break it, when it is managed by the arm of God. No man can break the heart with the Word; no angel can break the heart with the Word; that is, if God forbears to second it by mighty power from heaven. …Wherefore, though the Word is the instrument with which the heart is broken, yet it is not broken with the Word, till that Word is managed by the might and power of God. —John Bunyan, The Acceptable Sacrifice

The Pilgrim: Take Heart, Press On

I have sometimes seen more in a line of the Bible than I could well tell how to stand under, and yet at another time the whole Bible hath been to me as dry as a stick. —John Bunyan, Grace Abounding

The Pilgrim: How to Come Boldly

To tell you what it is to come boldly, is one thing; and to tell you how you should come boldly, is another. Here you are bid to come boldly, and are also showed how that may be done. It may be done through the blood of sprinkling, and through the sanctifying operations of the Spirit which are here by faith to be received. And when what can be said shall be said to the utmost, there is no boldness, godly boldness, but by blood. The more the conscience is a stranger to the sprinkling of blood, the further off it is of being rightly bold with God, at the throne of grace; for it is the blood that makes the atonement, and that gives boldness to the soul (Lev 17:11; Heb 10:19). It is the blood, the power of it by faith upon the conscience, that drives away guilt, and so fear, and consequently that begetteth boldness. Wherefore, he that will be bold with God at the throne of grace, must first be well acquainted with the doctrine of the blood of Christ; namely, that it was shed, and why, and that it has made peace with God, and for whom. Yea, thou must be able by faith to bring thyself within the number of those that are made partakers of this reconciliation, before thou canst come boldly to the throne of grace.  —John Bunyan, The Throne of Grace

The Pilgrim: No Back Door to the Throne of Grace

I must come by his blood, through his flesh, or I cannot come at all, for here there is no back door. —John Bunyan, The Saints’ Privilege and Profit

The Pilgrim: Prayer?

Prayer is a sincere, sensible, affectionate pouring out of the heart or soul to God, through Christ, in the strength and assistance of the Holy Spirit, for such things as God has promised, or according to His Word, for the good of the church, with submission in faith to the will of God. —John Bunyan, A Discourse Touching Prayer

The Pilgrim: No Dichotomy in Prayer

For God, and Christ, and his people are so linked together that if the good of the one be prayed for, to wit, the church, the glory of God, and advancement of Christ, must needs be included. For as Christ is in the Father, so the saints are in Christ; and he that toucheth the saints, toucheth the apple of God’s eye; and therefore pray for the peace of Jerusalem, and you pray for all that is required of you. For Jerusalem will never be in perfect peace until she be in heaven; and there is nothing that Christ doth more desire than to have her there. That also is the place that God through Christ hath given to her. He then that prayeth for the peace and good of Zion, or the church, doth ask that in prayer which Christ hath purchased with his blood; and also that which the Father hath given to him as the price thereof. —John Bunyan, A Discourse Touching Prayer

The Pilgrim: Praying like the Pharisee

In all that thou sayest, thou dost but play the downright hypocrite. Thou pretendest indeed to mercy, but thou intendest nothing but merit. Thou seemest to give the glory to God; but at the same time takest it all to thyself. Thou despisest others, and criest up thyself, and in conclusion fatherest all upon God by word, and upon thyself in truth. Nor is there any thing more common among this sort of men, than to make God, his grace, and kindness, the stalking-horse to their own praise, saying, God, I thank thee when they trust to themselves that they are righteous, and have not need of any repentance; when the truth is, they are the worst sort of men in the world, because they put themselves into such a state as God hath not put them into, and then impute it to God, saying, God, I thank thee, that thou hast done it; for what greater sin [is there] than to make God a liar, or than to father that upon God which he never meant, intended, or did. And all this under a colour to glorify God; when there is nothing else designed, but to take all glory from him, and to wear [it] on thine own head as a crown, and a diadem in the face of the whole world. —John Bunyan, The Publican and the Pharisee

The Pilgrim: Confession of Sin, not Commendation of Self

The Pharisee, therefore in commending of himself, makes himself never the better. The Publican also, in condemning of himself, makes himself never the worse. Nay, contrariwise, the Pharisee by commending of himself makes himself much the worse (v. 14). And the Publican, by condemning of himself, makes himself much the better. ‘I tell you, (says Christ) This man went down to his house justified rather than the other: For every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.’ —John Bunyan, The Pharisee and the Publican