Part First

Man's Duties to God

by John Bunyan

That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

This is a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works: these things are good and profitable unto men. _ Titus 3:7,8.

I shall not at this time discourse of every particular at large included in these words, but shall briefly fall upon those things that I judge most necessary for the people of God. Neither shall I need to take any great preamble to the words for their explication, they themselves being plain, and without that ambiguity that calleth for such a thing; the general scope being this, That they which have believed in God should be careful to maintain good works.

But yet, to prosecute what I intend with what clearness I may, I shall in a word or two make way for what is to be the main of this book.

"This is a faithful saying." This_which? Why, that which goeth before, namely, "That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal,life. This is a faithful saying, and these things l will that thou affirm constantly."

Why so?

Why, "That they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works. "

The meaning is, that the way to provoke others to good works is constantly (in the evidence and demonstration of the Spirit) to show them the certainty of their being by grace made heirs of eternal life.

From this Scripture I do gather these things observable:

1. That good works do flow from faith. Yea, 2. That every one that believeth should be careful that their works be good. 3. That every believer should not only be careful that their works be good, and for the present do them, but should also be careful to maintain them; that is, they should carefully study to keep in a constant course of good works.

And lastly, that the best way to provoke both ourselves and others to this work is to be often affirming to others the doctrine of justification by grace, and to believe it ourselves: "This is a faithful saying, and these things I will (saith Paul) that thou affirm constantly, that they who have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works."

I. I begin with the first: That good works do flow from faith.

This is evident divers ways: 1. From the impossibility of their flowing from any other thing_they must either flow from faith or not at all; "For whatsoever is not of faith is sin." And again, "Without faith it is impossible to please him." Every man by nature, before faith, is an evil and a corrupt tree; and a corrupt tree cannot bring forth good fruit: "Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Now a man is made good by faith, and by that bringeth forth the fruits that are acceptable to God.

Wherefore sinners, before faith, are compared to the wilderness, whose fruits are briaras and thorns; and whose hearts are the habitation of dragons_that is, of devils.

And hence again it is that they are said to be Godless, Christless, Spiritless, faithless, hopeless; without the covenant of grace, without strength; enemies in their minds by wicked works, and possessed by the spirit of wickedness as a castle by a conqueror.

Now, these things being thus, it is impossible that all the men under heaven that are unconverted should be able to bring forth one work rightly good; even as impossible as for all the briars and thorns under heaven to bring forth one cluster of grapes or one bunch of figs; for indeed they want or lack the qualification. A thorn bringeth not forth figs, because it lacketh the nature of the fig tree; and so doth the bramble, the nature of the vine. Good works must come from a good heart.

Now, this the unbeliever lacketh because he lacketh faith; for it is that which purifieth the heart. Good works must come from love to the Lord Jesus; but this the unbeliever lacketh also, because he lacketh faith; "For faith worketh by love, and by that means doth good. "

And hence again it is that though the carnal man doth never so much which he calleth good, yet it is rejected, slighted, and turned as dirt in his face again: his prayers are abominable, his ploughing is sin, and all his righteousness as filthy rags. Thus you see that without faith there are no good works.

Now then to show you that they flow from faith. And that,

For that faith is a principle of life, by which a Christian lives_a principle of motion, by which he walks towards heaven in the way of holiness. It is also a principle of strength, by which the soul opposeth its lust, the devil, and this world, and overcomes them: "This is your victory, even your faith." Faith in the heart of a Christian is like the salt that was thrown into the corrupt fountain, that made the naughty waters good and the barren land fruitful. Faith, when it is wrought in the heart, is like leaven hid in the meal, or like perfume that lighteth upon stinking leather, turning the smell of the leather into the savour of the perfume; it being then planted in the heart and having its natural inclination to holiness. Hence it is that there followeth an alteration of the life and conversation, and so bringeth forth fruit accordingly: "A good man, out of the good treasure of his heart, bringeth forth good fruit." Which treasure, I say, is this faith, and therefore it is that faith is called the faith according to godliness and the most holy faith.

Good works must needs flow from faith or no way, because that alone carrieth in it an argument sufficiently prevalent to win upon our natures, to make them comply with holiness.

Faith showeth us that God loveth us, that he forgiveth us our sins, that he accounteth us for his children, having freely justified us through the blood of his Son.

Faith receiveth the promise, embraceth it, and comforteth the soul unspeakably with it.

Faith is so great an artist in arguing and reasoning with the soul that it will bring over the hardest heart that it hath to deal with. It will bring to my remembrance at once both my vileness against God and his goodness towards me; it will show me that though I deserve not to breathe in the air, yet that God will have me an heir of glory.

Now, there is no argument greater than this. This will make a man run through ten thousand difficulties to answer God (though he never can) for the grace he hath bestowed on him.

Further, faith will show me how distinguishingly this love of God hath set itself upon me: it will show me that though Esau was Jacob's brother, yet he loved Jacob; that though there were thousands more besides me that were as good as me, yet I must be the man that must be chosen.

Now this, I say, is a marvellous argument, and unspeakably prevaileth with the sinner, as saith the apostle: "For the love of Christ constrains us, because we thus judge, That if one died for all, then were all dead; and that he died for all, that they which live (that is, by faith) should not henceforth live unto themselves, but to Him that died for them and rose again." "Love (saith the wise man) is strong as death; many waters cannot quench love, neither can the floods drown it. If a man would give all the substance of his house for love, it would be utterly contemned."

Oh! when the broken, dying, condemned soul can but see, by faith, the love of a tender-hearted Saviour, and also see what he underwent to deliver it from under that death, guilt, and hell that now it feels and fears, which also it knoweth it hath most justly and highly deserved, "Then bless the Lord, O my soul; and what shall I render unto the Lord for all his benefits?"

Thus faith is a prevailing argument to the sinner, whereby he is fetched off from what he was, and constrained to bend and yield to what before he neither would nor could.

And hence it is that gospel-obedience is called the obedience of faith, as well as obedience to the faith (Rom. 16:26). For it must be by the faith of Christ in my heart that I submit to the word of faith in the Bible, otherwise all is to no profit; as saith the apostle: "The word preached did not profit them, it not being mixed with faith in them that heard it" (Heb. 4:2). For faith alone can see the reality of what the Gospel saith, and so, I say, argue over the heart to the embracing of it.

3. Faith is such a grace as will represent to the soul all things in their proper colours. It doth not (as doth unbelief and ignorance) show us all things out of order, putting darkness for light, and bitter for sweet, but will set everything in its proper place before our eyes: God and Christ shall be with it the chiefest good, the most lovely and amiable; a heavenly life shall be of greater esteem and more desirable than all the treasures of Egypt. Righteousness and sanctification will be the thing after which it will most vehemently press, because it seeth not only death and damnation as the fruits of sin, but sin also in itself, distinct from the punishment belonging to it, a detestable, horrible, and odious thing.

By faith we see this world hath no abiding in it for us, nor no satisfaction if it were otherwise; and hence it is that the people of God have groaned to be gone from hence into a state that is both sinless and temptationless; and hence it is again that they have run through so many trials, afflictions, and adversities, even because of that love to holiness of life that faith being in their hearts did prompt them to, by showing them the worth and durableness of that which was good, and the irksomeness and evil of all things else.

4. Faith layeth hold of that which is able to help the soul to bring forth good works: it layeth hold of and engageth the strength of Christ, and by that overcometh that which oppresseth: "I can do all things through Christ that strengtheneth me."

In a word, a life of holiness and godliness in this world doth so inseparably follow a principle of faith that it is both monstrous and ridiculous to suppose the contrary. What! shall not he that hath life have motion?

He that hath by faith received the spirit of holiness, shall not he be holy? (Gal. 3:2), and he that is called to glory and virtue, shall not he add to his faith virtue? (2 Pet. 1:4, 5). We are by faith made good trees, and shall not we bring forth good fruit? (Luke 6:43). They that believe are created in Christ Jesus unto good works; and God hath, before the world was, ordained that we should walk in them: and shall both our second creation and God's foreordination be made frustrate? Besides, the children of faith are the children of light and of the day_ lights upon a hill and candles on a candlestick_and shall not they shine? They are the salt of the earth, shall not they be seasoning?

The believer is the alone man by whom God showeth to the world the power of his grace, the operation of his people's faith, etc. The unbelievers read indeed of the power of grace, of the faith, hope, love, joy, peace, and sanctification of the heart of the Christian, but they feel nothing of that sin-killing operation that is in these things: these are to them as a story of Rome or Spain. Wherefore, to show them in others what they find not in themselves, God worketh faith, hope, love, etc., in a generation that shall serve him; and by them they shall see what they cannot find in themselves, and by this means they shall be convinced that though sin and the pleasures of this life be sweet to them, yet there is a people otherwise minded, even such a people that do indeed see the glory of that which others read of, and from that light take pleasure in those things which they are most averse unto. To this, I say, are Christians called; herein is God glorified; hereby are sinners convinced, and by this is the world condemned.

Objection. But if faith doth so naturally cause good works, what then is the reason that God's people find it so hard a matter to be faithful in good works?

I answer_1. God's people are fruitful in good works according to the proportion of their faith; if they be slender in good works, it is because they are weak in faith. Little faith is like small candles or weak fire, which, though they shine and have heat, yet have but dim shining and small heat when compared with bigger candles and greater fire. The reason why Sardis had some in it whose works were not perfect before God was, because they did not hold fast by faith the word that they had formerly heard and received.

2. There may be a great mistake in our judging of our own fruitfulness. The soul that indeed is candid and right at heart is taught by grace to judge itself, though fruitful, yet barren upon two accounts; 1. When it compareth its life to the mercy bestowed upon it; for when a soul doth indeed consider the greatness and riches of the mercy bestowed upon it, then it must needs cry out, "O wretched man that I am!" for it seeth itself wonderfully to fall short of a conversation becoming one who hath received so great a benefit. 2. It may also judge itself barren because it falleth so far short of that it would attain unto; it cannot do the thing that it would. The heart of a Christian is naturally very barren; upon which, though the seed of grace (that is, the fruitfullest of all seeds) be sown, yet the heart is naturally subject to bring forth weeds.

Now, to have a good crop upon such ground doth argue the fruitfulness of the seed. Wherefore I conclude upon these three things:

1. That the seed of faith is a very fruitful seed, in that it will be fruitful in so barren a soil. 2. That faith is not beholden to the heart, but the heart to it, for all its fruitfulness. 3. That therefore the way to be a more fruitful Christian is to be stronger in believing.

II. Now for the second thing: to wit, That every one that believeth should be careful that their works be good. This followeth from what went just before: to wit, That the heart of a Christian is a heart subject to bring forth weeds.

There is flesh as well as spirit in the best of saints; and as the spirit of grace will be always putting forth something that is good, so the flesh will be putting forth continually that which is evil.

"For the flesh lusteth against the spirit, and the spirit against the flesh.

Now, this considered, is the cause why you find so often in the Scriptures so many items and cautions to the Christians to look to their lives and conversation. As, "Keep thy heart with all diligence"; "Watch ye, stand fast in the faith; quit you like men; be strong"; "Be not deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man soweth, that shall he reap: for he that soweth to the flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the spirit shall of the spirit reap life everlasting."

All works are not good that seem to be so. It is one thing for a man's ways to be right in his own eye, and another for them to be right in God's. Often that which is in high estimation with men is abomination in the sight of God.

Seeing corruption is not yet out of our natures, there is a proneness in us to build upon the right foundation, wood, hay and stubble, instead of gold, and silver, and precious stones. How were David the king, Nathan the prophet, and Uzza the priest deceived touching good works! Peter also, in both his defending his Master in the garden and in dissuading him from his sufferings, though both out of love and affection to his Master, was deceived touching good works.

Many have miscarried both as to doctrine, worship, and the prosecution of each.

1. For doctrine. Christ tells the Jews that they taught for the doctrines of God the doctrines and traditions of men: as also, saith the apostle, "They teach things they ought not, for filthy lucre's sake."

2. Also touching worship, we find how frequently men have mistaken, both for time, place, and matter, with which they worshipped.

(1) For time. It hath been that which man hath devised, not that which God hath commanded. They change the ordinances, saith Isaiah; they change God's judgments into wickedness, saith Ezekiel.

(2) For place. When they should have worshipped at Jerusalem, they worshipped at Bethel, at Gilgal, and Dan, in gardens, under poplars and elms.

(3) For the matter with which they worshipped. Instead of bringing according to the commandment, they brought the lame, torn, and the sick; they would sanctify themselves in gardens with swine's flesh and mice, when they should have done it at Jerusalem with bullocks and lambs.

Again, touching men's prosecuting their zeal for their worship, etc., that they do think right how hot it hath been, though with no reason at all. Nebuchadnezzar will have his fiery furnace and Darius his lions' den for non-conformists.

Again, they have persecuted men even to strange cities, have laid traps and snares in every corner to entrap and to entangle their words; and if they could at any time but kill the persons that dissented from them, they would think they did God good service. But what need we to look so far from home (were it not that I would seal my sayings with truth)? We need look no farther, to affirm this position, than the papists and their companions. How many have they in all ages hanged, burned, starved, drowned, racked, dismembered, and murdered, both openly and in secret! and all under a presence of God, his worship, and good works.

Thus you see how wise men and fools, saints and sinners, Christians and heathen, have erred in the business of good works; wherefore every one should be careful to see that their works be good.

Now, then, to prevent, if God will, miscarriage in this matter, I shall propound unto you what it is for a work to be rightly good:

1. A good work must have the word for its authority. 2. It must, as afore was said, flow from faith. 3. It must be both rightly timed and rightly placed. 4. It must be done willingly, cheerfully, etc.

1. It must have the word for its authority.

Zeal without knowledge is like a mottled horse without eyes or like a sword in a madman's hand, and there is no knowledge where there is not the word: for if they reject the word of the Lord, and act not by that, what wisdom is in them? said the prophet (Jer. 8:9; Isa. 8:20). Wherefore see thou have the word for what thou dost.

2. As there must be the word for the authorizing of what thou dost, so there must be faith, from which it must flow, as I showed thee before; "for whatsoever is not of faith is sin: and without faith it is impossible to please God." Now I say without the word there is no faith (Rom. 10:17), as without faith there is no good, let men's presences be what they will.

3. As it must have these two aforenamed, so also it must have_1. right time; and 2. right place.

1st. It must be rightly timed. Every work is not to be done at the same time, every time not being convenient for such a work: "There is a time for all things, and every thing is beautiful in its time" (Eccl. 3:11). There is a time to pray, a time to hear, a time to read, a time to confer, a time to meditate, a time to do, and a time to suffer. Now, to be hearing when we should be preaching and doing_that is, yielding active obedience to that under which we ought to suffer_is not good. Christ was very wary that both his doings and sufferings were rightly timed (John 2:3-4 and 13:1-2). And herein we ought to follow his steps. To be at plough in the field when I should be hearing the word is not good; and to be talking abroad when I should be instructing my family at home is as bad: "Whoso keepeth the commandment shall feel no evil thing: and a wise man's heart discerneth both time and judgment" (Eccl. 8:5). Good things mistimed are fruitless, unprofitable, and vain.

2dly. As things must have their right time, so they must be rightly placed; for the misplacing of any work is as bad as the mistiming of it.

When I say things if good must be rightly placed, I mean we should not give to any work more than the word of God alloweth it, neither should we give it less. Mint, anise, and cummin are not so weighty matters as faith and the love of God, as in Matt. 22:23. For a pastor to be exercising the office of a deacon instead of the office of a pastor, it is misplacing of works (Acts 6:2). For Martha to be making outward provision for Christ when she should have set at his feet to hear his word was the misplacing a work: and her sister to have done it at her request (though the thing in itself was good) had been her sin also.

Farther, there are three things that a man should have in his eye in every work he doth:

1st. The honour of God. 2dly. The edification of his neighbour. 3dly. The expediency or inexpediency of what I am to do. And always observe it that the honour of God is wrapped up in the edification of thy neighbour; and the edification of thy neighbour in the expediency of what thou dost.

Again, if thou wouldst walk to the edification of thy neighbour, and so to God's honour in the midst of thy observers, beware_

1st. That thou in thy words and carriages dost so demean thyself that Christ in his precious benefits may be with clearness spoken forth by thee; and take heed that thou dost not enter into doubtful points with them that are weak, but deal chiefly, lovingly, and wisely with their consciences about those matters that tend to their establishment in the faith of their justification and deliverance from death and hell: "Comfort the feeble-minded, confirm the weak."

2dly. If thou be stronger than thy brother, take heed that thou do not that before him that may offend his weak conscience; I mean things that to themselves may be lawful: "All that is lawful is not expedient; all that is lawful edifieth not." Wherefore here is thy wisdom and love, that thou in some things deny thyself for thy brother's sake. "I will not eat meat while the world standeth, (said Paul) lest I make my brother to offend. Wherefore have this faith to thyself before God." But if thou walk otherwise, know thou walkest not charitably, and so not to edification, and so not to Christ's honour, but dost sin against Christ and wound thy weak brother, for whom Christ died.

But I say all this while keep thy eye upon the word: take heed of going contrary to that under any presence whatever; for without the word there is nothing to God's glory nor thy brother's edification. Wherefore, walk wisely in a perfect way.

Having thus, in few words, showed you what are works rightly good, I beseech you in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ that you put yourselves into a conscientious performance of them, that you may, while you live here, be vessels of honour, fit for the Master's use and prepared to every good work. Study to approve things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and without offence until the day of Christ: covet communion with God, covet earnestly the best gifts. Ah! we that are redeemed from among men, and that rejoice in the hope of the glory of God_we that look, I say, for the blessed hope and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ_ what manner of persons should we be in all holy conversation and godliness!

To conclude, for your further edification, take a plain rehearsal of your several general duties and works, to which God engageth you in his word, according to your places, callings, and relations in this world.

Part Second

Duties Of A Husband


If thou have under thee a family, then thou art to consider the several relations thou standest under, and art to know that thou in each of them hast a work to do for God, and that he expecteth thy faithful deportment under every one of them. As,

First, then, in general: He that is the master of a family hath, as under that relation, a work to do for God; to wit, the right governing of his own family. And his work is twofold.

1. Touching the spiritual state thereof.

2. Touching the outward.

As touching the spiritual state of his family, he ought to be very diligent and circumspect, doing his utmost endeavour both to increase faith where it is begun and to begin it where it is not.

Wherefore, to this end, he ought diligently and frequently to lay before his household such things of God, out of his word, as are suitable for each particular. And let no man question his rule in the word of God for such a practice; for if the thing itself were but of good report and a thing tending to civil honesty, it is within the compass and bounds even of nature itself, and ought to be done, much more things of a higher nature; besides, the apostle exhorts us to "whatever things are honest, whatever things are true, just, and of good report," to think of them, that is, to be mindful to do them; but to be conversant in this godly exercise of our family is very worthy of praise, and doth much become all Christians. This is one of the things for which God so highly commended his servant Abraham, and that with which his heart was so much affected: "I know Abraham," saith God; "I know him to be a good man in very deed, for he will command his children, and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the Lord." This was a thing also which good Joshua designed should be his practice as long as he had a breathing-time in this world: "As for me (saith he), I and my household, we will serve the Lord."

Further, we find also in the New Testament that they are looked upon as Christians of an inferior rank that have not a due regard to this duty; yea, so inferior as not fit to be chosen to any office in the Church of God. A pastor must be one that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity: For if a man knoweth not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the Church of God? "The deacon also (saith he) must be the husband of one wife," ruling their children and their own house well. Mark a little, the apostle seems to lay down thus much, that a man that governs his family well hath one qualification belonging to a pastor or deacon in the house of God (for he that knoweth not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the Church of God?), which thing considered, it giveth us light into the work of the master of a family touching the governing of his house.

1. First, then, a pastor must be sound and uncorrupt in his doctrine; and indeed so must the master of a family.

2. A pastor should be apt to teach, to reprove, and to exhort; and so should the master of a family.

3. A pastor must himself be exemplary in faith and holiness; and so also should the master of a family . "I (saith David) will behave myself in a perfect way; I will walk in (or before) my house in a perfect way."

4. The pastor is for getting the church together; and when they are so come together, then to pray among them and to preach unto them: this is also commendable in Christian masters of families.

Objection: But my family is ungodly and unruly touching all that is good: what shall I do?

Answer: I answer_1. Though this be true, yet thou must rule them, and not they thee. Thou art set over them of God, and thou art to use the authority which God hath given thee, both to rebuke their vice and to show them the evil of their rebelling against the Lord. This did Eli, though not enough; and thus did David.

Also, thou must tell them how sad thy state was when thou wast in their condition, and so labour to recover them out of the snare of the devil.

2. Thou oughtest also to labour to draw them forth to God's public worship, if peradventure God may convert their souls. Saith Jacob to his household, and to all that were about him, "Let us arise and go to Bethel, and I will make there an altar to God, that answered me in the day of my distress."

Hannah would carry Samuel to Shiloh, that he might abide with God for ever. Indeed, a soul rightly touched will labour to draw not only their families but a whole city after Jesus Christ.

3. If they are obstinate, and will not go forth with thee, then do thou get godly and sound men to thy house, and there let the word of God be preached, when thou hast, as Cornelius, gathered thy family and friends together.

You know that the jailer, Lydia, Crispus, Gaius, Stephanus, and others had not only themselves but their families made gracious by the word preached, and that some of them, if not all, by the word preached in their houses. And this, for aught I know, might be one reason among many why the apostles taught in their day, not only publicly, but from house to house: I say, that they might, if possible, bring in those in some family which yet remained unconverted and in their sins; for some, you know, how usual it was in the day of Christ to invite him to their house if they had any afflicted that either would not or could not come unto him.

If this be the way with those that have outward diseases in their families, how much more then where there are souls that have need of Christ to save them from death and eternal damnation?

4. Take heed that thou dost not neglect family duties among them thyself, as reading the word and prayer; if thou hast one in thy family that is gracious, take encouragement; nay, if thou art alone, yet know that thou hast both liberty to go to God through Christ, and also art at that time in a capacity of having the universal Church join with thee for the whole number of those that shall be saved.

5. Take heed that thou suffer not any ungodly, profane, or heretical books or discourse in thy house: "Evil communications corrupt good manners." I mean such profane or heretical books, etc., as either tend to provoke to looseness of life or such as do oppose the fundamentals of the Gospel.

I know that Christians must be allowed their liberty as to things indifferent; but for those things that strike either at faith or holiness, they ought to be abandoned by all Christians, and especially by the pastors of churches and masters of families; which practice was figured out by Jacob's commanding his house and all that was with him to put away the strange gods from among them and to change their garments.

All those in the Acts set a good example for this, who took their curious books and burned them before all men, though they were worth five thousand pieces of silver.

The neglect of this fourth particular hath occasioned ruin in many families both among children and servants. It is easier for vain talkers and their deceivable works to subvert whole households than many are aware of.

Thus much touching the spiritual state of thy household. And now to its outward.

Touching the outward state of thy family, thou art to consider these three things:

1. That it lieth upon thee to care for them that they have a convenient livelihood: "If any man provide not for his own, and especially for those of his house, he hath denied the faith and is worse than an infidel." But mark when the word said, "Thou art to provide for thy house," it giveth thee no license to distracting carefulness; neither doth it allow thee to strive to grasp the world in thy heart or coffers, nor to take care for years or days to come, but so to provide for them that they may have food and raiment; and if either they or thou be not content with that, you launch out beyond the rule of God. This is to labour that you may have wherewith to maintain good works for necessary uses.

And never object that unless you reach farther it will never do; for that is but unbelief. The word saith, "That God feedeth the ravens, careth for sparrows, and clotheth the grass"; in which three, to feed, clothe, and care for, is as much as heart can wish.

2. Therefore, though thou shouldst provide for thy family, yet let all thy labour be mixed with moderation: "Let your moderation be known unto all men." Take heed of driving so hard after this world as to hinder thyself and family from those duties towards God which thou art by grace obliged to, as private prayer, reading the Scriptures, and Christian conference. It is a base thing for men so to spend themselves and families after this world as that they disengage their heart to God's worship.

Christians, "The time is short. It remaineth then that they that have wives be as those that have none; and they that weep, as though they wept not; and they that rejoice, as those that rejoice not; and they that use this world, as not abusing it; for the fashion of this world passeth away."

Many Christians live and do in this world as if religion was but a by-business, and this world the one thing necessary; when indeed all the things of this world are but things by the by, and religion only the one thing needful.

3. If thou wouldst be such a master of a family as becomes thee, thou must see that there be that Christian harmony among those under thee as becomes that house where one ruleth that feareth God.

(1) Thou must look that thy children and servants be under subjection to the word of God; for though it is of God only to rule the heart, yet he expecteth that thou shouldst rule their outward man; which, if thou dost not, he may in a short time cut off all thy stock. See therefore that thou keep them temperate in all things, in apparel, in language, that they be not gluttons nor drunkards; nor suffering either thy children vainly to domineer over thy servants, nor they again to carry themselves foolishly towards each other.

(2) Learn to distinguish between that injury that in thy family is done to thee and that which is done to God; and though thou oughtest to be very zealous for the Lord, and to bear nothing that is open transgression to him, yet here will be thy wisdom_to pass by personal injuries and to bury them in oblivion: "Love covereth a multitude of sins." Be not then like those that will rage and stare like madmen when they are injured, and yet either laugh, or at least not soberly rebuke and warn, when God is dishonoured.

Rule thy own house well, having thy children (with others in thy family) in subjection with all gravity.

Solomon was so excellent, sometimes, this way that he made the eyes of his beholders to dazzle.

But to break off from this general and come to particulars:

First, Hast thou a wife? Thou must consider how thou oughtest to behave thyself under that relation; and to do this aright thou must consider the condition of thy wife, whether she be one that indeed believeth or not. If she believeth, then,

1. Thou art engaged to bless God for her: "For her price is far above rubies, and she is the gift of God unto thee, and is for thy adorning and glory." and "Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain; but a woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised. "

2. Thou oughtest to love her under a double consideration: 1. As she is thy flesh and thy bone; "For never man yet hated his own flesh." 2. As she is together with thee an heir of the grace of life. This, I say, should engage thee to love her with Christian love; to love her as believing you both are dearly beloved of God and the Lord Jesus Christ, and as those that must be together with him in eternal happiness.

3. Thou oughtest so to carry thyself to and before her as doth Christ to and before his Church; as saith the apostle: "So ought men to love their wives, even as Christ loved the Church and gave himself for it." When husbands behave themselves like husbands indeed, then will they be not only husbands, but such an ordinance of God to the wife as will preach to her the carriage of Christ to his spouse. There is a sweet scent wrapped up in the relations of husbands and wives that believe; the wife, I say, signifying the Church, and the husband the head and Saviour thereof. "For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the Church"; and he is the Saviour of the body.

This is one of God's chief ends in instituting marriage, that Christ and his Church, under a figure, might be wherever there is a couple that believe through grace.

Wherefore that husband that carrieth it undiscreetly towards his wife, he doth not only behave himself contrary to the rule, but also maketh his wife lose the benefit of such an ordinance, and crosseth the mystery of his relation. Therefore, I say, "So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies: he that loveth his wife, loveth himself; for no man ever yet hated his own flesh, but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the Church." Christ laid out his life for his Church, covereth her infirmities, communicates to her his wisdom, protecteth her and helpeth her in her employments in this world; and so ought men to do for their wives.

Solomon and Pharaoh's daughter had the art of thus doing, as you may see in the book of the Canticles.

Wherefore bear with their weaknesses, help their infirmities, and honour them as the weaker vessels and as being of a frailer constitution.

In a word, be such a husband to thy believing wife that she may say, God hath not only given me a husband, but such a husband as preacheth to me every day the carriage of Christ to his Church.

Secondly, If thy wife be unbelieving or carnal then thou hast also a duty lying before thee, which thou art engaged to perform under a double engagement: 1. For that she lieth liable every moment to eternal damnation: 2. That she is thy wife that is in this evil case.

Oh! how little sense of the worth of souls is there in the hearts of some husbands, as is manifest by their unchristian carriage to and before their wives!

Now, to qualify thee for a carriage suitable,

1. Labour seriously after a sense of her miserable state, that thy bowels may yearn towards her soul.

2. Beware that she take no occasion from any unseemly carriage of thine to proceed in evil. And here thou hast need to double thy diligence, for she lieth in thy bosom, and therefore is capable of espying the least miscarriage in thee.

3. If she behave herself unseemly and unruly, as she is subject to do, being Christless and graceless, then labour thou to overcome her evil with thy goodness, her frowardness with thy patience and meekness. It is a shame for thee, who hast another principle, to do as she.

4. Take fit opportunities to convince her. Observe her disposition, and when she is most likely to hear, then speak to her very heart.

5. When thou speakest speak to purpose. It is no matter for many words, provided they be pertinent. Job in a few words answers his wife, and takes her off from her foolish talking: "Thou speakest (saith he) like one of the foolish women: shall we receive good at the hands of God, and shall we not receive evil?"

6. Let all be done without rancour or the least appearance of anger: "With meekness instruct those that oppose themselves, if peradventure they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil who are taken captive by him at his will."

"And knowest thou, O man, but thou mayest save thy wife?"

If thou art a parent, a father or a mother, then thou art to consider thy calling under this relation.

Thy children have souls, and they must be begotten of God as well as of thee, or they perish.

And know also that unless thou be very circumspect in thy behaviour to and before them, they may perish through thee; the thoughts of which should provoke thee both to instruct and also to correct them.

1. To instruct them as the Scripture saith, and to bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord; and to do this diligently when thou sittest in thy house, when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.

Now to do this to purpose,

1. Do it in terms and words easy to be understood: affect not high expressions, they will drown your children. Thus God spake to his children, and Paul to his.

2. Take heed of filling their heads with whimsies and unprofitable notions, for this will sooner learn them to be malapert and proud than sober and humble. Open therefore to them the state of man by nature; discourse with them of sin, of death, and hell; of a crucified Saviour, and the promise of life through faith: "Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it."

3. There must be much gentleness and patience in all thy instructions, lest they be discouraged.

4. Labour to convince them by a conversation answerable that the things of which thou instructest them are not fables, but realities, yea, and realities so far above what can be here enjoyed that all things, were they a thousand times better than they are, are not worthy to be compared with the glory and worthiness of these things.

Isaac was so holy before his children that when Jacob remembered God, he remembered that he was the Fear of his father Isaac.

Ah! when children can think of their parents, and bless God for that instruction and good they have received from them, this is not only profitable for children, but honourable and comfortable to parents: "The father of the righteous shall greatly rejoice; and he that begetteth a wise child shall have joy of him."

1. See if fair words will win them from evil. This is God's way with his children.

2. Let those words you speak to them in your reproof be both sober, few, and pertinent, adding always some suitable sentence of the Scripture therewith; as, if they lie, then such as Rev. 21:8, 27; if they refuse to hear the word, such as 2 Chron. 25:14-16.

3. Look to them that they be not companions with those that are rude and ungodly, showing with soberness a continual dislike of their naughtiness; often crying out to them, as God did of old unto his, "Oh do not this abominable thing that I hate."

Let all this be mixed with such love, pity, and compunction of spirit that if possible they may be convinced you dislike not their persons, but their sins. This is God's way.

5. Be often endeavouring to fasten on their consciences the day of their death and judgment to come. Thus also God deals with his.

6. If thou art driven to use the rod, then_1. Strike advisedly, in cold blood, and soberly show them_1. their fault; 2. how much it is against thy heart thus to deal with them; 3. and that what thou dost thou dost in conscience to God and love to their souls; 4. and tell them that if fair means would have done, none of this severity should have been. This, I have proved it, will be a means to afflict their hearts as well as their bodies; and it being the way that God deals with his, it is the most likely to accomplish its end.

7. Follow all this with prayer to God for them, and leave the issue to him: "Folly is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of correction will fetch it out."

Lastly, observe these cautions:

(1) Take heed that the misdeeds for which thou correctest thy children be not learned them by thee. Many children learn that wickedness of their parents for which they beat and chastise them.

(2) Take heed thou smile not upon them to encourage them in small faults, lest that thy carriage to them be an encouragement to them to commit greater.

(3) Take heed thou use not unsavoury and unseemly words in thy chastising of them, as railing, miscalling, and the like. This is devilish.

(4) Take heed thou do not use them to many chiding words and threatenings, mixed with lightness and laughter; this will harden. Speak not much, but often, but pertinent to them, with all gravity.


(Employer to Employee?)

Masters also have a work to do as they stand related to their servants. And,

1. If possibly they can, to get them that fear God: "He that worketh deceit (said David) shall not dwell within my house; and he that telleth lies shall not tarry in my sight."

2. But if none at the present but unbelievers can be got to do thy labour, then,

(1) Know that it is thy duty so to behave thyself to thy servant that thy service may not only be for thy good, but for the good of thy servant, and that both in body and soul. Wherefore deal with him, as to admonition, as with thy children; give him the same bread of God thou givest to them; and who knows but that if thou with spiritual delicates bringest up thy servant, he may become thy spiritual son in the end.

(2) Take heed thou do not turn thy servants into slaves, by overcharging them in thy work through thy greediness. To make men serve with rigour is more like to Israel's enemies than Christian masters.

(3) Take heed thou carry not thyself to thy servant as he of whom it is said, "He is such a man of Belial that his servants could not speak to him."

And the apostle bids you forbear to threaten them, "because you also have a Master in heaven." As who should say, Your servants cannot be guilty of so many miscarriages against you as you are guilty of against Christ: wherefore do with and to your servants as you would have your Master do with you.

(4) Take heed that thou neither circumvent him at his coming to thy service nor at his going out.

Servants at their going into service may be beguiled two ways:

1st. By their masters lying unto them, saying their work is so small and so easy, when it is indeed, if not too burdensome, yet far beyond what at first was said of it. This is beguiling of them.

2dly. The other way is when masters greedily seek to wire-draw their servants to such wages as indeed is too little and inconsiderable for such work and labour. Both these the apostle opposeth where he saith, "Masters, give to your servants that which is just_just labour and just wages_knowing that you also have a Master in heaven."

As servants may be circumvented at their coming into their labour, so also they may be at their going out; which is done by masters that either change their wages, like heathenish Laban, or keep it back, like those against whom God will be a swift witness.

(3) Take heed that thou make not a gain of thy place, because thou art gracious or livest conveniently for the means of grace.

Servants that are truly godly, they care not how cheap they serve their masters, provided they may get into private families, or where they may be convenient for the word. But now, if a master or mistress should take this opportunity to make a prey of their servants, this is abominable, this is making a gain of godliness and merchandise of the things of God and of the soul of thy brother.

I have heard some poor servants say that in some carnal families they have had more liberty to God's things and more fairness of dealing than among professors; but this stinketh. And as Jacob said concerning the cruelty of his two sons, so may I say of such masters, they make religion stink before the inhabitants of the land.

In a word, learn of the Lord Jesus to carry yourselves well to your servants, that your servants also may learn something of the kindness of Christ by your deportment to them. Servants are goers as well as comers; take heed that thou give them no occasion to scandal the Gospel when they are gone for what they observed thee unrighteously to do when they were with thee. Then masters carry it rightly toward their servants when they labour both in word and life to convince them that the things of God are the one thing necessary. That which servants are commanded to do touching their fear, their singleness of heart, their doing what they do as to the Lord, and not to men, the master is commanded to do the same things unto them.

Part Third

The Duty of Wives

by John Bunyan

But, passing the master of the family, I shall speak a word or two to those that are under him.

And first to the wife. The wife is bound by the law to her husband so long as her husband liveth, wherefore she also hath her work and place in the family as well as the rest.

Now there are these things considerable in the carriage of a wife toward her husband, which she ought conscientiously to observe:

1. That she look upon him as her head and lord. The head of the woman is the man, and so Sarah called Abraham lord.

2. She should therefore be subject to him, as is fit in the Lord. The apostle saith, "That the wife should submit herself to her husband, as to the Lord." I told you before that if the husband doth walk towards his wife as becomes him, he will therein be such an ordinance of God to her, besides the relation of an husband, that shall preach to her the carriage of Christ to his Church. And now I say also that the wife, if she walk with her husband as becomes her, she shall preach the obedience of the Church to her husband. Therefore as the Church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.

Now, for thy performing of this work, thou must first shun these evils:

1. The evil of a wandering and a gossiping spirit; this is evil in the Church, and is evil also in a wife, who is the figure of a Church. Christ loveth to have his spouse keep at home; that is, to be with him in the faith and practice of his things, not ranging and meddling with the things of Satan; no more should wives be given to wander and gossip abroad. You know that Prov. 7:11 saith, "She is loud and stubborn, her feet abide not in her house."

Wives should be about their own husband's business at home; as the apostle saith, "Let them be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husband." And why? Because otherwise the word of God will be blasphemed.

2. Take heed of an idle, talking, or wrangling tongue. This also is odious, either in maids or wives, to be like parrots, not bridling their tongue; whereas the wife should know, as I said before, that her husband is her lord, and is over her, as Christ is over the Church. Do you think it is seemly for the Church to parrot it against her husband? Is she not to be silent before him, and to look to his laws rather than her own fictions? Why so, saith the apostle, ought the wife to carry it towards her husband. "Let the woman," saith Paul, "learn in silence with all subjection; but I suffer not a woman to teach nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence."

It is an unseemly thing to see a woman so much as once in all her lifetime to offer to overtop her husband; she ought in every thing to be in subjection to him and in all she doth, as having her warrant, license, and authority from him. And indeed here is her glory, even to be under him, as the Church is under Christ: "Now she openeth her mouth in wisdom, and her tongue is the law of kindness."

3. Take heed of affecting immodest apparel or a wanton gait; this will be evil both abroad and at home; abroad, it will not only give ill example, but also tend to tempt to lust and lasciviousness; and at home it will give an offense to a godly husband, and be cankering to ungodly children, etc. Wherefore, as saith the apostle, "Let women's apparel be modest, as becometh women professing godliness with good works, not with broidered hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array." And as it is said again, "Whose adorning, let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing gold, and of putting on of apparel; but let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price; for after this manner in old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection to their own husbands."

But yet do not think that by the subjection I have here mentioned I do intend women should be their husbands' slaves. Women are their husbands' yoke-fellows, their flesh and their bones; and he is not a man that hateth his own flesh or that is bitter against it. Wherefore let every man love his wife as himself, and the wife see that she reverence her husband.

The wife is master next her husband, and is to rule all in his absence: yea, in his presence she is to guide the house, to bring up the children, provided she so do it as the adversary have no occasion to speak reproachfully. "Who can find a virtuous woman? For her price is far above rubies. A gracious woman retaineth honour, and guideth her affairs with discretion."

Objection. But my husband is an unbeliever: what shall I do?

Answer. If so, then what I have said before lieth upon thee with an engagement so much the stronger. For_1. Thy husband being in this condition, he will be watchful to take thy slips and infirmities, to throw them as dirt in the face of God and thy Saviour. 2. He will be apt to make the worst of every one of thy words, carriages, and gestures. 3. And all this doth tend to the possessing his heart with more hardness, prejudice, and opposition to his own salvation. Wherefore, as Peter saith, "Ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that if any obey not the word, they may also without the word be won by the conversation of their wives, while they behold your chaste conversation, coupled with fear." Thy husband's salvation or damnation lieth much in thy deportment and behaviour before him; wherefore, if there be in thee any fear of God or love to thy husband, seek by a carriage full of meekness, modesty, and holiness, and an humble behaviour before him, to win him to the love of his own salvation; and by thus doing, how knowest thou, O woman, but thou shalt save thy husband?

Objection. But my husband is not only an unbeliever, but one very froward, peevish, and testy; yea, so froward, etc., that I know not how to speak to him, to behave myself before him.

Answer. Indeed there are some wives in great slavery by reason of their ungodly husbands, and as such should be pitied and prayed for; so they should be so much the more watchful and circumspect in all their ways.

1. Therefore be thou very faithful to him in all the things of this life.

2. Bear with patience his unruly and unconverted behaviour; thou art alive, he is dead; thou art principled with grace, he with sin. Now then, seeing grace is stronger than sin, and virtue than vice, be not overcome with his vileness, but overcome that with thy virtues. It is a shame for those that are gracious to be as lavishing in their words, etc., as those that are graceless. "They that are slow to wrath are of great understanding; but they that are hasty in spirit exalt folly."

3. Thy wisdom, therefore, if at any time thou best desire to speak to thy husband for his conviction concerning any thing, either good or evil, it is to observe convenient times and seasons. "There is a time to keep silence and a time to speak."

Now for the right timing thy intentions,

1. Consider his disposition, and take him when he is farthest off of those filthy passions that are thy afflictions. Abigail would not speak a word to her churlish husband till his wine was gone from him and he in a sober temper. The want of this observation is the cause why so much is spoken and so little effected.

2. Take him at those times when he hath his heart taken with thee, and when he showeth tokens of love and delight in thee. Thus did Esther with the king her husband, and prevailed.

3. Observe when convictions seize his conscience, and then follow them with sound and grave sayings of the Scriptures. Somewhat like to this dealt Manoah's wife with her husband. Yet then,

(1.) Let thy words be few.

(2.) And none of them savouring of a lording it over him, but speak thou still to thy head and lord by way of entreaty and beseeching.

(3.) And that in such a spirit of sympathy and bowels of affection after his good that the manner of thy speech and behaviour in speaking may be to him an argument that thou speakest in love, as being sensible of his misery and inflamed in thy soul with desire after his conversion.

(4.) And follow thy words and behaviour with prayers to God for his soul.

(5.) Still keeping thyself in a holy, chaste, and modest behaviour before him.

Objection. But my husband is a sot, a fool, and one that hath not wit enough to follow his outward employment in the world.

Answer. 1. Though all this be true, yet thou must know he is thy head, thy lord, and thy husband.

2. Therefore thou must take heed of desiring to usurp authority over him. He was not made for thee_that is, for thee to have dominion over him_but to be thy husband and to rule over thee.

3. Wherefore, though in truth thou must have more discretion than he, yet thou oughtest to know that thou, with all that is thine, is to be used as under thy husband, even every thing.

Take heed therefore that what thou dost goes not in thy name, but his; not to thy exaltation, but his; carrying all things so, by thy dexterity and prudence, that not one of thy husband's weaknesses be discovered to others by thee; "A virtuous woman is a crown to her husband; but she that causeth shame is a rottenness to his bones." For then, as the wise man saith, she will do him good, and not evil, all the days of her life.

4. Therefore act, and do still, as being under the power and authority of thy husband.

Now, touching thy carriage to thy children and servants.

Thou art a parent and a mistress, and so thou oughtest to demean thyself.

And besides, seeing the believing woman is a figure of the Church, she ought, as the Church, to nourish and instruct her children and servants as the Church, that she may answer in that particular also; and truly, the wife being always at home, she hath great advantage that way; wherefore do it, and the Lord prosper your proceeding.

Part Fourth

Duties Of Children

to Their Parents

There lieth also a duty upon children to their parents, which they are bound by the law of God and nature conscientiously to observe; "Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right." And again, "Children, obey your parents in all things, for this is well pleasing to the Lord."

There are these general things in which children should show forth that honour that is due to their parents from them:

1. They should always count them better than themselves. I observe a vile spirit among some children, and that is, they are apt to look over their parents and to have slighting and scornful thoughts of them. This is worse than heathenish; such a one hath got just the heart of a dog or a beast, that will bite those that begot them and her that brought them forth.

Objection. But my father, etc., is now poor and I am rich, and it will be a disparagement, or at least a hindrance to me, to show that respect to him as otherwise I might.

Answer. I tell thee that thou arguest like an atheist and a beast, and standest in this full flat against the Son of God.

Must a gift and a little of the glory of the butterfly make thee that thou shalt not do for and honour to thy father and mother? "A wise son maketh a glad father, but a foolish son despiseth his mother." Though thy parents be never so low, and thou thyself never so high, yet he is thy father and she thy mother, and they must be in thy eye in great esteem: "The eye that mocketh at his father, and that despised to obey his mother, the ravens of the valley shall pick it out and the young eagles shall eat it."

2. Thou oughtest to show thy honour to thy parents by a willingness to help them with such necessaries and accommodations which they need. If any have nephews or children, let them learn to show pity at home, and to requite their parents, saith Paul, for that is good and acceptable before God.

And this rule Joseph observed to his poor father, though he himself was next the king in Egypt.

But mark, let them requite their parents.

There are three things for which, as long as thou livest, thou wilt be a debtor to thy parents:

(1) For thy being in this world; they are they from whom immediately, under God, thou didst receive it.

(2) For their care to preserve thee when thou wast helpless and couldst neither care for nor regard thyself.

(3) For the pains they have taken with thee to bring thee up. Until thou hast children of thy own thou wilt not be sensible of the pains, matchings, fears, sorrows, and affliction that they have gone under to bring thee up; and when thou knowest it thou wilt not easily yield that thou best recompensed them for their favour to thee. How often have they sustained thy hunger, clothed thy nakedness! What care have they taken that thou mightest have wherewith to live and do well when they were dead and gone! They possibly have spared it from their own belly and back for thee, and have also impoverished themselves that thou mightest live like a man. All these things ought duly, and like a man, to be considered by thee; and care ought to be taken on thy part to requite them. The Scripture saith so, reason saith so, and there be none but dogs and beasts that deny it. It is the duty of parents to lay up for their children, and the duty of children to requite their parents.

3. Therefore show by all humble and sonlike carriage that thou dost to this day, with thy heart, remember the love of thy parents.

Thus much for obedience to parents in general.

Again, if thy parents be godly and thou wicked (as thou art if thou hast not a second work or birth from God upon thee), then thou art to consider that thou art more strongly engaged to respect and honour thy parents; not now only as a father in the flesh, but, as godly parents, thy father and mother are now made of God thy teachers and instructors in the way of righteousness. Wherefore, to allude to that of Solomon, "My son, hearken to the law of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother; bind them continually upon thy heart and tie them about thy neck."

Now to provoke thee hereto, consider_

1. That this hath been the practice always of those that are and have been obedient children: yea, of Christ himself to Joseph and Mary, though he himself was God blessed for ever.

2. Thou hast also the severe judgments of God upon those that have been disobedient to awe thee; as,

(1) Ishmael, for but mocking at one good carriage of his father and mother, was both thrust out of his father's inheritance and the kingdom of heaven, and that with God's approbation.

(2) Hophni and Phineas, for refusing the good counsel of their father, provoked the great God to be their enemy: "They hearkened not to the voice of their father, because the Lord would slay them."

(3) Absalom was hanged, as I may say, by God himself for rebelling against his father.

Besides, little dost thou know how heartaching a consideration it is to thy parents when they do but suppose thou mayest be damned_how many prayers, sighs, and tears are there wrung from their hearts upon this account.

Every miscarriage of thine goeth to their heart, for fear God should take an occasion thereat to shut thee up in hardness for ever.

How did Abraham groan for Ishmael? "Oh (saith he to God) that Ishmael might live before thee!"

How was Isaac and Rebekah grieved for the miscarriage of Esau?

And how bitterly did David mourn for his son, who died in his wickedness!

Lastly, And can any imagine but that all these carriages of thy godly parents will be to thee the increase of thy torments in hell, if thou die in thy sins notwithstanding?

Again, if thy parents and thou also be godly, how happy a thing is this! How shouldst thou rejoice that the same faith should dwell both in thy parents and thee! Thy conversion, possibly, is the fruits of thy parents' groans and prayers for thy soul, and they cannot choose but rejoice; do thou rejoice with them. It is true it is the salvation of a natural son which is mentioned in the parable: "This my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found: and they began to be merry."

Let therefore the consideration of this, that thy parents have grace as well as thee, engage thy heart so much the more to honour, reverence, and obey them.

Thou art better able now to consider the pains and care that thy friends hath been at, both for thy body and soul; wherefore strive to requite them. Thou hast strength to answer in some measure the command; wherefore do not neglect it.

It is a double sin in a gracious son not to remember the commandment_yea, the first commandment with promise.

Take heed of giving thy sweet parents one snappish word or one unseemly carriage. Love them because they are thy parents, because they are godly, and because thou must be in glory with them.

Again, if thou be godly and thy parents wicked, as often it sadly falls out, then,

1. Let thy bowels yearn towards them; it is thy parents that are going to hell.

2. As I said before to the wife touching her unbelieving husband, so now I say to thee, Take heed of a parroting tongue: speak to them wisely, meekly, and humbly; do for them faithfully without repining, and bear with all child-like modesty their reproaches, their railing, and evil-speaking. Watch fit opportunities to lay their condition before them. Oh! how happy a thing would it be if God should use a child to beget his father to the faith! Then indeed might the father say, With the fruit of my own bowels hath God converted my soul. The Lord, if it be his will, convert our poor parents, that they, with us, may be the children of God.

Part Fifth

Duties of Servants



Duties of Neighbour's

Each To The Other

by John Bunyan

Servants also, they have a work to do for God in their place and station among men.

The apostles assert masters under a threefold consideration:

1. The believing master. 2. The unbelieving master. 3. The froward master.

For all which servants are furnished with counsel and advice in the word, for the demeaning of themselves under each of them.

But before I speak in particular to any of these, I will in general show you the duty of servants:

1. Thou art to look upon thyself as thou art, that is, as a servant, not a child nor a wife; thou art inferior to these; wherefore count thyself under them, and be content with that station: "For three things the earth is disquieted, and for four which it cannot bear: one is a servant when he reigneth."

It is out of thy place either to talk or do as one that reigneth.

2. Consider that thou being a servant, what is under thy hand is not thine own, but thy master's. Now, because it is not thy own, thou oughtest not to dispose of it, but because it is thy master's, thou oughtest to be faithful. Thus it was with Joseph (Gen. 39:7-9). But if thou do otherwise, know that thou shalt receive of God for the wrong that thou dost, and there is with God no respect of persons.

3. Touching thy work and employment, thou art to do it as unto the Lord, and not for man, and indeed then servants do their business as becomes them when they do all in obedience to the Lord, as knowing that the place in which they now are is the place where Christ hath put them, and in which he expecteth they should be faithful.

Servants (saith Paul), be obedient to them that are your masters_with fear and trembling, in singleness of heart, as unto Christ; not with eye-service as men-pleasers, but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart.

Observe a little the word of God to servants:

1. Servants must be obedient; yea,

2. Not with that obedience that will serve man only; servants must have their eye on the Lord in the work they do for their masters.

3. That their work in this service is the will and ordinance of God.

From which I conclude that thy work in thy place and station, as thou art a servant, is as really God's ordinance and as acceptable to him, in its kind, as is preaching or any other work for God, and that thou art as sure to receive a reward for thy labour as he that hangs or is burnt for the Gospel. Wherefore, saith the apostle to servants, "Whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not to men, knowing that of the Lord you shall receive the reward of inheritance; for ye serve the Lord Christ. "

And now touching the three sorts of masters mentioned before.

1. For the believing masters. Saith Paul, "They that have believing masters, let them not despise them because they are brethren, but rather do them service because they are faithful and beloved, and partakers (with the servants) of the heavenly benefits." (Servants, if they have not a care of their hearts, will be so much in the consideration of the relation that is betwixt their masters and they as brethren, that they will forget the relation that is between them as masters and servants. Now, though they ought to remember the one, yet let them take heed of not forgetting the other. Know thy place as a servant while thou considerest that thy master and thee are brethren; do thy work for him faithfully and humbly, and with meekness, because he is a master faithful and beloved, and partaker of the heavenly benefit.) "If any man teach otherwise (saith the apostle Paul), and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the doctrine which is according to godliness, he is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strife of words; whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings, perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself."

2. For the unbelieving masters (for of them Paul speaks in the first verse of the 6th of Timothy), "Let as many servants (saith he) as be under the yoke count their own masters worthy of all honour, that the word of God and his doctrine be not blasphemed."

Servants living with unbelieving masters are greatly engaged to be both watchful, faithful, and trusty. Engaged, I say (1.) From the consideration of the condition of their master; for he, being unbelieving, will have an evil eye upon thee and upon thy doings, and so much the more because thou professest"; as in the case of Saul and David (1 Sam 18).

(2.) Thou art engaged because of the profession thou makest of the word of God; for by thy profession thou dost lay both God and his word before thy master, and he hath no other wit but to blaspheme them if thou behave thyself unworthily. Wherefore Paul bids Titus, "Exhort servants to be obedient to their own masters, and to please them well in all things, not answering again (not giving parroting answers or such as are cross or provoking), not purloining, but showing all good fidelity, that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things."

That servant who in an unbeliever's family doth his work before God as God's ordinance, he shall adorn the doctrine of God, if not save his master, by so doing; but if he doth otherwise, he shall both stumble the unbeliever, dishonour God, offend the faithful, and bring guilt upon his own soul.

3. For the froward master (though I distinguish him from the unbeliever, yet it is not because he may not be such, but because every believer doth not properly go under that name). Now, with this froward and peevish fellow thou art to serve as faithfully for the time thou standest bound as with the most pleasant and rational master in the world. "Servants (saith Peter), be subject to your masters, with all fear not only to the good and gentle, but also to the froward." And if thy peevish master still be froward, either out of spite to thy religion or because he is without reason concerning thy labour (thou to the utmost of thy power labouring faithfully), God then reckoneth thee a sufferer for well-doing, as truly as if thou wert called upon the stage of this world before men for the matters of thy faith. Wherefore Peter adds this encouragement to servants to the exhortation he gave them before: "This is thankworthy (saith he), if a man for conscience toward God endureth grief, suffering wrongfully; for what glory is it if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, you take it patiently? But if, when you do well and suffer for it, you take it patiently, this is acceptable with God."

Wherefore be comforted concerning thy condition, with considering that God looks upon thee as on Jacob in the family of Laban, and will right all thy wrongs, and recompense thee for thy faithful, wise, and godly behaviour before and in the service of thy froward master.

Wherefore, be patient, I say, and abound in faithfulness in thy place and calling, till God make a way for thy escape from this place; and when thou mayest be made free, use it rather.



Having thus in few words showed you what is duty under your several relations, I shall now at last speak, in a word or two, touching good neighbourhood, and then draw towards a conclusion.

Touching neighbourhood, there are these things to be considered and practiced if thou wilt be found in the practical part of good neighbourhood:

1. Thou must be of a good and sound conversation in thy own family, place, and station, showing to all the power that the Gospel and the things of another world have in thy heart, "that ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world."

2. As persons must be of good behaviour at home that will be good neighbours, so they must be full of courtesy and charity to them that have need about them.

Right good neighbourhood is for men readily to communicate, as of their spirituals, so of their temporalities, as food, raiment, and help, to those that have need; to be giving to the poor as thou seest them go by thee, or to inquire after their condition, and according to thy capacity to send unto them.

3. Thou must be always humble and meek among them, as also grave and gracious; not light and frothy, but by thy words and carriage ministering grace to the hearers.

Thus also Job honoured God among his neighbours.

4. Thy wisdom will be rightly to discountenance sin and to reprove thy neighbour for the same, denying thyself in some things for the preventing an injury to thy neighbour, that thou mayest please him for his edification.

5. If thou wouldst be a good neighbour, take heed of thy tongue upon two accounts:

(1.) That thou with it give no offensive language to thy neighbour, to the provoking of him to anger. Bear much, put up with wrongs, and say little: "It is an honour for a man to cease from strife, but every fool will be meddling." And again, "He loveth transgression that loveth strife."

(2.) And as thou shouldst take heed that thou be not the original of contention and anger, so also take heed that thou be not an instrument to beget it between parties by a tale-bearing and gossiping spirit: "He that passeth by and meddleth with strife belonging not to him is like one that taketh a dog by the ears. As coals are to burning coals, and wood to fire, so is a contentious man to kindle strife."

I do observe two things very odious in many professors: the one is a headstrong and stiff-necked spirit, that will have its own way; and the other is a great deal of tattling and talk about religion, and but a very little, if any thing, of those Christian deeds that carry in them the cross of a Christian in the doing thereof and profit to my neighbour.

(1.) When I say a headstrong and stiff-necked spirit, I mean they are for pleasing themselves and their own fancies in things of no weight, though their so doing be as the very slaughter-knife to the weak conscience of a brother or neighbour. Now this is base. Christians, in all such things as entrench not on matters of faith and worship, should be full of self-denial, and seek to please others rather than themselves; "giving none offence to the Jew, nor to the Greek nor the church of God; not seeking their own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved."

(2.) And the second is as bad, to wit, when professors are great prattlers, and talkers, and disputers, but do little of anything that bespeaketh love to the poor or self-denial in outward things. Some people think religion is made up of words; a very wide mistake. Words without deeds is but a half-faced religion. "Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this: To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep thyself unspotted from the world." Again, "If a brother or a sister be destitute of daily food, and one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be warmed and filled (which are very fine words), yet if you give them not those things that are necessary to the body, what doth it profit?"

Now, then, before I go any further, I will here take an occasion to touch a little upon those sins that are so rife in many professors in this day; and they are covetousness, pride, and uncleanness. I would speak a word to them in this place the rather because they are they which spoil both Christian brotherhood and civil neighbourhood in too great a measure.

First, for covetousness.

1. Covetousness, it is all one with desire; he that desires covets, whether the thing he desires be evil or good. Wherefore that which is called coveting in Ex. 20:17 is called desire in Deut. 5:21. As the apostle also saith, "I had not known lust except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet" (Rom. 7:7). That is, I had not known lust to be a sin unless the law had forbid it. Wherefore, though lawful desires are good (1 Cor. 12:31) and to be commended, yet covetousness, as commonly understood, is to be fled from and abhorred, as of the devil.

2. Covetousness, or evil desire, it is the first mover, and giveth to every sin its call, as I may say, both to move and act; as was said before, The apostle had not known sin except the law had said, Thou shalt not desire, or covet, for where there is no desire to sin there appears no sin.

3. Therefore covetousness carrieth in it every sin (we speak of sins against the second table), even as a serpent carrieth her young ones in her belly. This the Scripture affirms where it saith, "Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's wife, nor his man-servant, nor his maid-servant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour's." Covetousness will meddle with any thing.

Now, there are in my mind at present these eight notes of covetousness, which hinder good works and a Christian conversation among men wherever they are harboured:

1. When men to whom God hath given a comfortable livelihood are yet not content therewith. This is against the apostle, where he saith, "Let your conversation be without covetousness, and be content with such things as ye have, for he hath said, I will never leave thee nor forsake thee."

2. It is covetousness in the seller that puts him to say of his traffic it is better than it is, that he may heighten the price of it; and covetousness in the buyer that prompts him to say worse of the thing than he thinks in his conscience it is, and that for an abatement of a reasonable price. This is that which the apostle forbids under the name of defraud, and that which Solomon condemns.

3. It is through covetousness that men think much of that which goeth beside their own mouth, though possibly it goeth to those that have more need than themselves, and also that better deserve it than they.

4. It argueth covetousness when men will deprive themselves and those under them of the privileges of the Gospel for more of this world, and is condemned by Christ.

5. It argueth covetousness when men that have it can go by or hear of the poor, and shut up their bowels of compassion from them.

6. Also, when men are convinced it is their duty to communicate to such and such that have need, yet they defer it, and if not quite forget it, yet linger away the time, as being loth to distribute to the necessities of those in want. This is forbidden by the Holy Ghost: "Withhold not good from them to whom it is due, when it is in the power of thy hand to do it." Now, it is due from thee to the poor by the commandment of God, if they want and thou hast it: "Say not then to thy neighbour, Go, and come again to-morrow, and I will give, when thou hast it by thee."

7. It argueth a greedy mind also when, after men have cast in their minds what to give, they then from that will be pinching and clipping and taking away; whereas the Holy Ghost saith, "Every one as he purposeth in his heart so let him give, not grudgingly, nor of necessity; for God loveth a cheerful giver."

Lastly. It argueth a filthy, greedy heart also when a man, after he hath done any good, then in his heart to repent and secretly wish that he had not so done, or at least that he had not done so much: this is to be weary of well-doing (I speak now of communicating), and carrieth in it two evils: First, it spoileth the work done; and secondly, it (if entertained) spoileth the heart for doing any more so. The vile person shall be no more called liberal, nor the churl said to be bountiful; for the liberal deviseth liberal things, and by liberal things he shall stand.

Now, then, to dissuade all from this poisonous sin, observe that above all sins in the New Testament this is called idolatry. And therefore God's people should be so far from being taken with it that they should be much afraid of the naming of it one among another, lest it should, as adulterous thoughts, infect the heart by talking of it.

Question. But why is covetousness called idolatry?

Answer. Because it engageth the very heart of man in it; to mind earthly things it gets our love, which should be set on God, and sets it upon poor empty creatures; it puts our affections out of heaven, where they should be, and sets them on earth, where they should not be. Thus it changeth the object on which the heart should be set, and setteth it on that on which it should not. It makes a man forsake God, "the fountain of living water, and causeth him to hew to himself cisterns, broken cisterns, which can hold no water."

For, 2. It rejecteth the care, government, and providence of God towards us, and causeth us to make of our care and industry a god, to whom, instead of God, we fly continually, both for the keeping what we have and for getting more.

This was Israel's idolatry of old, and the original of all her idolatrous practices Hos. 2:5. "For their mother hath played the harlot (that is, committed idolatry), she that conceived them hath done shamefully; for she said, I will go after my lovers, that gave me my bread and waters, my wool and my flax, my oil and my drink."

3. It disalloweth of God's way of disposing his creatures, and would have them ordered and disposed of otherwise than to his heavenly wisdom seemeth meet; and hence ariseth all discontents about God's dealings with us. Covetousness never yet said, It is the Lord, let him do what he pleaseth; but is ever objecting, like a god, against every thing that goeth against it; and it is that which, like a god, draweth away the heart and soul from the true God and his Son Jesus Christ: "And he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions." Now, then, that which engageth the heart, that rejecteth the providence of God, and that is for ordering and disposing of things contrary to God, and for breaking with God upon these terms is idolatry; and all these do covetousness: "The wicked boasteth of his heart's desire, and blesseth the covetous, whom the Lord abhorreth" (Ps. 20:3). Now the way to remedy this disease is to learn the lesson which Paul had got by heart; to wit, "In whatsoever state you are, therewith to be content."

I come, in the second place, to speak a word of pride and loftiness of heart and life.

1. Pride in general it is which causeth a man to think of man and his things above what is written (1 Cor. 4:6).

2. It hath its seat in the heart among these enormities: fornications, adulteries, lasciviousness, murders, deceit, etc., and showeth itself in these following particulars:

(1.) When you slight this or that person, though gracious_that is, look over them and shun them for their poverty in this world, and choose rather to have converse with others that possibly are less gracious, because of their greatness in this world_this the apostle James writes against under the name of partiality: "for indeed the fruits of a puffed-up heart is to deal in this manner with Christians."

Now this branch of pride floweth from ignorance of the vanity of the creature and of the worth of a gracious heart: wherefore get more of the knowledge of these two, and, this sprig will be nipped in the head, and you will learn to condescend to men of low degree.

(2.) It argues pride of heart when men will not deny themselves in things that they may, for the good and profit of their neighbours. And it argueth now that pride has got so much up into self-love and self-pleasing that they little care who they grieve or offend, so they may have their way.

(3.) It argueth pride of heart when sober reproofs for sin and unbeseeming carriages will not down with thee, but that rather thou snuffest, and givest way to thy spirit to be peevish, and to retain prejudice against those that thus reprove thee. Saith the prophet, "Hear ye and give ear, Be not proud, for the Lord hath spoken"; that is, hear the reproofs of God for your sins, and break them off by repentance:

"But if you will not hear, my soul shall weep in secret for your pride," etc. So also in Hosea, "They will not frame their doing to turn unto their God, for the spirit of whoredom is in the midst of them: they have not known the Lord, and the pride of Israel doth testify to his face."

This argueth great senselessness of God and a heart greatly out of frame.

Pride also there is in outward carriage, behaviour, and gesture, which is odious for Christians to be tainted with: and this pride is discovered by mincing words, a made carriage, and an affecting the toys and baubles that Satan and every light-hearted fool bringeth into the world. As God speaketh of the daughters of Zion, "They walked with stretched-out necks, wanton eyes, mincing as they go, and making a tinkling with their feet." A very unhandsome carriage for people that profess godliness, and that used to come before God to confess their sins, and to bemoan themselves for what they have done. How can a sense of thy own baseness, of the vileness of thy heart, and of the holiness of God stand with such a carriage?

From this I gather that this sin is a very predominant and master sin, easy to overtake the sinner, as being one of the first that is ready to offer itself at all occasions to break the law of God.

2. I observe that this sin is committed unawares to many, even so soon as a man hath but looked upon a woman: "I say unto you (saith Christ), that whosoever looketh on a woman to lust or desire after her, he hath already committed adultery with her in his heart."

This sin, I say, is a very taking sin; it is natural above all sins to mankind; as it is most natural, so it wants not tempting occasions, having objects for to look on in every corner: wherefore there is need of a double and treble watchfulness in the soul against it. It is better here to make a covenant with our eyes, like Job, than to let them wander to God's dishonour and our own discomfort.

My friends, I am here treating of good works, and persuading you to fly those things that are hindrances to them; wherefore bear with my plainness when I speak against sin. I would strike it through with every word, because else it will strike us through with many sorrows.

I do not treat of good works as if the doing of them would save us (for we are justified by his grace, according to the hope of eternal life); yet your sins and evil works will lay us obnoxious to the judgments both of God and man. He that walketh not uprightly, according to the truth of the Gospel, is like to have his peace assaulted often, both by the devil, the law, death, and hell; yea, and is like to have God hide his face from him also for the iniquity of his covetousness.

How can he that carrieth himself basely in the sight of men think he yet well behaveth himself in the sight of God? and if so dim a light as is in man can justly count thee a transgressor, how shall thy sins be hid from Him whose eyelids try the children of men?

It is true, faith without works justifies us before God: yet that faith that is alone will be found to leave us sinners in the sight both of God and man (Rom. 3:28). And though thou addest nothing to that which saveth thee by what thou canst do, yet thy righteousness may profit the son of man, as also saith the text; but if thou shalt be so careless as to say, What care I for being righteous to profit others? I tell thee that the love of God is not in thee.

Walk therefore in God's ways, and do them, for this is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the nations which shall hear of all these statutes, and say, "This great nation is a wise and understanding people."

III. Every believer should not only take heed that his works be good, and so for the present do them, but should carefully study to maintain them; that is, to keep in a continual exercise of them.

It is an easier matter to begin to do good than it is to continue therein; and the reason is, there is not so much of a Christian's cross in the beginning of a work as there is in a continual, hearty, conscientious practice thereof. Therefore Christians have need, as to be pressed to do good, so to continue the work. Man, by nature, is rather a hearer than a doer_Athenian-like, continually listening after some new thing; seeing many things, but observing nothing. It is observable that after Christ had divided his hearers into four parts, he condemned three of them for fruitless hearers (Luke 8:5-8). Oh it is hard continuing believing, continuing loving, continuing resisting all that opposeth; we are subject to be weary of well-doing. To pluck out right eyes, to cut off right hands and feet, is no pleasant thing to flesh and blood; and yet none but these shall have the promise of life, because none but these will be found to have the effectual work of God's grace in their souls: "If ye continue in my word, then are you my disciples [indeed]. And hence it is, that you find so many ifs in the Scripture about men's happiness; as, "If you be sons, then heirs;" and "if you continue in the faith;" and "if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end." Not that their continuing in the way of God is the cause of the work being right, but the work being right causeth the continuance therein. As John saith in another place, "They went out from us, because they were not of us; for had they been of us, no doubt, [saith he], they would have continued with us." But, I say, where the work of God indeed is savingly begun, even there is flesh, corruption, and the body of death to oppose it: therefore should Christians take heed, and look that against these opposites they maintain a continual course of good works among men.

Besides, as there is that in our own bowels that opposeth goodness, so there is the tempter, the wicked one, both to animate these lusts and to join with them in every assault against every appearance of God in our souls. And hence it is that he is called the devil, the enemy, the destroyer, and him that seeks continually to devour us. I need say no more but this: He that will walk like a Christian indeed, as he shall find it is requisite that he continue in good works, so his continuing therein will be opposed; if therefore he will continue therein, he must make it his business to study how to oppose those that oppose such a life, that he may continue therein.

IV. Now, then, to help in this, here fitly comes in the last observation, to wit: That the best way both to provoke ourselves and others to good works is to be often affirming to others the doctrine of justification by grace, and to believe it ourselves. This is a faithful saying, "And these things I will that thou affirm constantly, that those which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works."

I told you before that good works must flow from faith; and now I tell you that the best way to be fruitful in them is to be much in the exercise of the doctrine of justification by grace, and they both agree; for as faith animates to good works, so the doctrine of grace animates faith. Wherefore, the way to be rich in good works is to be rich in faith; and the way to be rich in faith is to be conscientiously affirming the doctrine of grace to others, and believing it ourselves.

First, to be constantly affirming it to others. Thus Paul tells Timothy that if he put the brethren in mind of the truths of the Gospel, he himself should not only be a good minister of Christ, but should be nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine.

It is the ordinance of God that Christians should be often asserting the things of God each to others, and that by their so doing they should edify one another.

The doctrine of the Gospel is like the dew and the small rain that distilleth upon the tender grass, wherewith it doth flourish and is kept green.

Christians are like the several flowers in a garden, that have upon each of them the dew of heaven, which being shaken with the wind, they let fall their dew at each other's roots, whereby they are jointly nourished and become nourishers of one another; for Christians to commune savourly of God's matters one with another is as if they opened to each other's nostrils boxes of perfume. Saith Paul to the church at Rome, "I long to see you, that I may impart unto you some spiritual gift, to the end you may be established; that is, that I may be comforted together with you by the mutual faith both of you and me."

Christians should be often affirming the doctrine of grace and justification by it one to another.

Secondly, As they should be thus doing, so they should live in the power of it themselves; they should by faith suck and drink in this doctrine as the good ground receiveth the rain; which being done, forthwith there is proclaimed good works. Paul to the Colossians said thus, "We give thanks to God, and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you, since we heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and love to all the saints; for the hope which is laid up in heaven for you, whereof ye heard before in the word of the truth of the Gospel, which is come unto you, as it is also in all the world, and bringeth forth fruit, as it doth also in you." But how long ago? Why, since the day ye heard it, saith he, and knew the grace of God in truth.

Apples and flowers are not made by the gardener, but are an effect of the planting and watering. Plant in the sinner good doctrine, and let it be watered with the word of grace; and as the effect of that there is the fruits of holiness and the end everlasting life.

Good doctrine is the doctrine of the Gospel, which showeth to men that God clothed them with the righteousness of his Son freely, and maketh him with all his benefits over to them, by which free gift the sinner is made righteous before God; and because he is so, therefore there is infused a principle of grace into the heart, whereby it is both quickened and bringeth forth fruit.

Now, then, seeing good works do flow from faith, and seeing faith is nourished by an affirming of the doctrine of the Gospel, etc., take here these few considerations from the doctrine of the Gospel for the support of thy faith, that thou mayest be indeed fruitful and rich in good works:

1. The whole Bible was given for this very end, that thou shouldst both believe this doctrine, and live in the comfort and sweetness of it; for whatever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.

2. That therefore every promise in the Bible is thine, to strengthen, quicken, and encourage thy heart in believing.

3. Consider that there is nothing that thou dost can so please God as believing: "The Lord takes pleasure in them that fear him, in them that hope in his mercy. "

They please him, because they embrace his righteousness, etc.

4. Consider that all the withdrawings of God from thee are not for the weakening, but for the trial of thy faith; and also that whatever he suffers Satan or thy own heart to do, it is not to weaken faith.

5. Consider that believing is that which will keep in thy view the things of heaven and glory, and that at which the devil will be discouraged, sin weakened, and the heart quickened and sweetened.

Lastly. By believing the love of God is kept with warmth upon the heart, and that this will provoke thee continually to bless God for Christ, for grace, for faith, hope and all these things, either in God or thee, that doth accompany salvation.

1. The doctrine of the forgiveness of sins received by faith will make notable work in the heart of a sinner to bring forth good works.

But, secondly: Forasmuch as there is a body of death and sin in every one that hath the grace of God in this world, and because this body of death will be ever opposing that which is good, as the apostle saith, therefore take these few particulars further for the suppressing that which will hinder a fruitful life:

1. Keep a continual watch over the wretchedness of thy own heart (not to be discouraged at the sight of thy vileness), but to prevent its wickedness; for that will labour either to hinder thee from doing good works, or else will hinder thee in the doing thereof; for evil is present with thee for both these purposes. Take heed, then, that thou do not listen to that at any time, but deny, though with much struggling, the workings of sin to the contrary.

2. Let this be continually before thy heart, that God's eye is upon thee, and seeth every secret turning of thy heart, either to or from him: "All things are naked and bare before the eyes of Him with whom we have to do."

3. If thou deny to do that good which thou oughtest with what thy God hath given thee, then consider that though he love thy soul, yet he can chastise_first, thy inward man with such troubles that thy life shall be restless and comfortless; secondly, and can also so blow upon thy outward man that all thou gettest shall be put in a bag with holes. And should he license but one thief among thy substance, or one spark of fire among thy barns, how quickly might that be spent ill and against thy will which thou shouldst have spent to God's glory and with thy will! And I tell thee further, that if thou want a heart to do good when thou hast about thee, thou mayest want comfort in such things thyself from others when thine is taken from thee.

4. Consider that a life full of good works is the only way, on thy part, to answer the mercy of God extended to thee; God hath had mercy on thee, and hath saved thee from all thy distresses; God hath not stuck to give thee his Son, his Spirit, and the kingdom of heaven. Saith Paul, "I beseech you therefore, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice to God, holy, acceptable, which is your reasonable service."

5. Consider that this is the way to convince all men that the power of God's things hath taken hold of thy heart (I speak to them that hold the head), and say what thou wilt, if thy faith be not accompanied with a holy life thou shalt be judged a withered branch, a wordy professor, salt without savour, and as lifeless as a sounding brass and a tinkling cymbal. For, say they, show us your faith by your works, for we cannot see your hearts. But I say on the contrary, if thou walk as becomes one who art saved by grace, then thou wilt witness in every man's conscience that thou art a good tree; now thou leavest guilt on the heart of the wicked; now thou takest off occasion from them that desire occasion; and now thou art clear from the blood of all men. This is the man also that provoketh others to good works: The ear that heareth such a man shall bless him, and the eye that seeth him shall bear witness to him. "Surely (saith David), he shall never be moved: the righteous shall be had in everlasting remembrance."

6. Again, The heart that is fullest of good works hath in it least room for Satan's temptations; and this is the meaning of Peter where he saith, "Be sober, be vigilant": that is, be busying thyself in faith and holiness, "for the devil, your adversary, goeth about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour." He that walketh uprightly walketh safely; and he that adds to faith, virtue; to virtue, knowledge; to knowledge, temperance; to temperance, brotherly kindness; and to these charity, and that abounds therein, he shall neither be barren nor unfruitful (he shall never fall), but so an entrance shall be ministered to him abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

7. The man who is fullest of good works is fittest to live and fittest to die: "I am now (at any time) ready to be offered up," saith fruitful Paul. Whereas he that is barren is neither fit to live nor fit to die: to die, he himself is convinced he is not fit: and to live, God himself saith he is not fit; "cut him down, why doth he yet cumber the ground?"

Thus have I, in few words, written to you (before I die) a word to provoke you to faith and holiness, because I desire that you may have the life that is laid up for all them that believe in the Lord Jesus and love one another, when I am deceased. Though here I shall rest from my labours, and be in paradise, as through grace I comfortably believe, yet it is not there, but here, I must do you good. Wherefore, I, not knowing the shortness of my life, nor the hindrance that hereafter I may have of serving my God and you, have taken this opportunity to present these few lines unto you for your edification.

Consider what hath been said, and the Lord give you understanding in all things. Farewell.

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