John Bunyan’s Dying Sayings Part 1 (on Sin, Suffering, and Repentance)
We continue our series on the writings of John Bunyan. In today’s post we look at the first three of Bunyan’s “dying sayings” (slightly modernized) which he wrote while on his death bed. Historical records show that in 1688 Bunyan was caught in a storm while on the way to London, after which he became ill with a serious fever. He died on August 31, 1688 and was buried in a tomb in Bunhill Fields nonconformist burial ground in London. It was during these last days that he wrote the following sayings. It is truly a remarkable testimony of Bunyan’s faith that he was not angry at God for what some may view as a needless illness and death for a great servant of God. Not only did Bunyan accept God’s will, but he used his final days to continue teaching the truths of God and His Word.
Sin is the great block and bar to our happiness, the procurer of all miseries to man, both here and hereafter: take away sin and nothing can hurt us: for death, temporal, spiritual, and eternal, is the wages of it.
Sin, and man for sin, is the object of the wrath of God. How dreadful, therefore, must his case be who continues in sin! For who can bear or grapple with the wrath of God?
No sin against God can be little, because it is against the great God of heaven and earth; but if the sinner can find out a little God, it may be easy to find out little sins.
Sin turns all God’s grace into wantonness; it is the dare of his justice, the rape of his mercy, the jeer of his patience, the slight of his power, and the contempt of his love.
Take heed of giving yourself liberty of committing one sin, for that will lead you to another; till, by an ill custom, it becomes natural.
To begin a sin is to lay a foundation for a continuance; this continuance is the mother of custom, and impudence at last the issue.
The death of Christ gives us the best discovery of ourselves, in what condition we were, in that nothing could help us but His death; and the most clear discovery of the dreadful nature of our sins. For if sin be so dreadful a thing as to wring the heart of the Son of God, how shall a poor wretched sinner be able to bear it?
Nothing can render affliction so unbearable as the load of sin: would you, therefore, be fitted for afflictions, be sure to get the burden of your sins laid aside, and then whatever afflictions you may meet with will be very easy to you.
If you can hear and bear the rod of affliction which God will lay upon you, remember this lesson—you are beaten that you may be better.
The Lord uses his flail of tribulation to separate the chaff from the wheat.
The school of the cross is the school of light; it discovers the world’s vanity, baseness, and wickedness, and lets us see more of God’s mind.
Out of dark affliction comes a spiritual light.
In times of affliction we commonly meet with the sweetest experiences of the love of God.
Did we heartily renounce the pleasures of this world, we should be very little troubled for our afflictions; that which renders an afflicted state so unbearable to many is because they are too much addicted to the pleasures of this life, and so cannot endure that which makes a separation between them.
OF REPENTANCE AND COMING TO CHRIST
The end of affliction is the discovery of sin, and of that to bring us to a Saviour. Let us therefore, with the prodigal, return unto him, and we will find ease and rest.
A repenting penitent, though formerly as bad as the worst of men, may, by grace, become as good as the best.
To be truly sensible of sin is to sorrow for displeasing of God; to be afflicted that he is displeased by us more than that he is displeased with us.
Your intentions to repentance, and the neglect of that soul-saving duty, will rise up in judgment against you.
Repentance carries with it a Divine rhetoric, and persuades Christ to forgive multitudes of sins committed against him.
Do not say tomorrow I will repent; for it is your duty to do it daily.
The gospel of grace and salvation is above all doctrines the most dangerous, if it is received in word only by graceless men; if it be not attended with a sensible need of a Saviour, and bring them to him. For such men as have only the notion of it, are of all men most miserable; for by reason of their knowing more than heathens, this will only be their final portion, that they shall have greater stripes.