Today 1688: John Bunyan’s Last Sermon

In a list of Bunyan’s works from 1690, Charles Doe gave as the original title page of a Bunyan sermon: “MR. BUNYAN’S LAST SERMON, at London, preached at Mr. Gamman’s meeting-house, near Whitechapel, August 19th, 1688, upon John 1:13: showing a resemblance between a natural and a spiritual birth; and how every man and woman may try themselves, and know whether they are born again or not.”

If this date is right, the sermon was preached exactly 12 days before John Bunyan’s death on August 31, 1688.  The text of John 1:13 is, “Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” After describing the signs of the new birth, Bunyan drew the following applications:

“The first use is this, To make a strict inquiry whether you be born of God or not; examine by those things I laid down before, of a child of nature and a child of grace. Are you brought out of the dark dungeon of this world into Christ? Have you learned to cry, ‘My Father?’ (Jer. 3:4.) ‘And I said, Thou shalt call me, My Father.’ All God’s children are criers—cannot you be quiet without you have a bellyful of the milk of God’s Word? Cannot you be satisfied without you have peace with God? Pray you, consider it, and be serious with yourselves; if you have not these marks, you will fall short of’ the kingdom of God—you shall never have an interest there; ‘there’ is no intruding. They will say, ‘Lord, Lord, open to us; and he will say, I know you not.’ No child of God, no heavenly inheritance. … O do not flatter yourselves with a portion among the sons, unless you live like sons. When we see a king’s son play with a beggar, this is unbecoming; so if you be the king’s children, live like the king’s children; if you be risen with Christ, set your affections on things above, and not on things below; when you come together, talk of what your Father promised you; you should all love your Father’s will, and be content and pleased with the exercises you meet with in the world. If you are the children of God, live together lovingly; if the world quarrel with you, it is no matter; but it is sad if you quarrel together; if this be amongst you, it is a sign of ill-breeding; it is not according to the rules you have in the Word of God. 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;’ serve one another, do good for one another; and if any wrong you, pray to God to right you, and love the brotherhood…Lastly, If you be the children of God, learn that lesson—Gird up the loins of your mind, as obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to your former conversation; but be ye holy in all manner of conversation. Consider that the holy God is your Father, and let this oblige you to live like the children of God, that you may look your Father in the face, with comfort, another day.”

Taken from the Christian History Institute

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