Conquered by his word – John Bunyan’s Mediations From Prison

In today’s entry, I continue our series looking at the works of John Bunyan. The following paragraphs contain select verses from John Bunyan’s “Mediations” which he wrote while in prison. Written in a poetic format, these verses record Bunyan’s experiences of God’s grace and goodness in his life while he was imprisoned without just cause. With each word it becomes powerfully clear that Bunyan’s time in prison only served to strengthen and embolden him more in his zeal for God. I hope you find these verses as exhortational as I did, and if you want to read the complete work (I encourage you to do so!), you can find the PDF here.

 

I am, indeed, in prison now
In body, but my mind
Is free to study Christ, and how
Unto me he is kind.

For though men keep my outward man
Within their locks and bars,
Yet by the faith of Christ I can
Mount higher than the stars.

Their fetters cannot spirits tame,
Nor tie up God from me;
My faith and hope they cannot lame,
Above them I shall be.

I here am very much refreshed
To think when I was out,
I preached life, and peace, and rest
To sinners round about.

They were no fables that I taught,
Devised by cunning men,
But God’s own Word, by which were caught
Some sinners now and then.

Whose souls by it were made to see
The evil of their sin;
And need of Christ to make them free
From death which they were in.

And now those very hearts that then
Were foes unto the Lord,
Embrace his Christ and truth, like men
Conquered by his word.

And now those very hearts that then
Were foes unto the Lord,
Embrace his Christ and truth, like men
Conquered by his word.

I hear them sigh and groan, and cry
For grace, to God above;
They loathe their sin, and to it die,
‘Tis holiness they love.

This was the work I was about
When hands on me they laid,
‘Twas this from which they pluck’d me
out, And vilely to me said,

You heretic, deceiver, come,
To prison you must go;
You preach abroad, and keep not home,
You are the church’s foe.

But having peace within my soul,
And truth on every side,
I could with comfort them control,
And at their charge deride.

Wherefore to prison they me sent,
Where to this day I lie,
And can with very much content
For my profession die.

The prison very sweet to me
Hath been since I came here,
And so would also hanging be,
If God would there appear.

The prison very sweet to me
Hath been since I came here,
And so would also hanging be,
If God would there appear.

Though they say then that we are fools
Because we here do lie,
I answer, goals are Christ his schools,
In them we learn to die.

Here come the angels, here come saints,
Here comes the Spirit of God,
To comfort us in our restraints
Under the wicked’s rod.

From hence we see the emptiness
Of all this world contains;
And here we feel the blessedness
That for us yet remains.

Here we can see how all men play
Their parts, as on a stage,
How good men suffer for God’s way,
And bad men at them rage.

When he our righteousness forth brings
Bright shining as the day,
And wipeth off those sland’rous things
That scorners on us lay.

We sell our earthly happiness
For heavenly house and home;
We leave this world because ‘tis less,
And worse than that to come.

We change our drossy dust for gold,
From death to life we fly:
We let go shadows, and take hold
Of immortality.

We trade for that which lasting is,
And nothing for it give,
But that which is already his
By whom we breath and live.

Again, we see what glory ‘tis
Freely to bear our cross
For him, who for us took up his,
When he our servant was.

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