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  • Writer's pictureDr. Roger D Duke

John Bunyan's Last Sermon: Have You Been Born of the Spirit? Think About It!

Mr. Bunyan’s Last Sermon:[1][2] 
Preached August 19TH, 1688
'Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.'-- John 1:13
“They that believe are born to it, as an heir is to an inheritance--they are born of God, not of flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God; not of blood, that is, not by generation, not born to the kingdom of heaven by the flesh, not because I am the son of a godly man or woman--that is meant by blood (Acts 17:26); He 'hath made of one blood all nations.' But when he says here, 'not of blood,' he rejects all carnal privileges they did boast of: they boasted they were Abraham's seed; no, no says he, it is not of blood; think not to say you have Abraham to your father; you must be born of God, if you go to the kingdom of heaven. . . . 
Men that believe in Jesus Christ, to the effectual receiving of Jesus Christ, they are born to it. He does not say they shall be born to it, but they are born to it--born of God unto God and the things of God, before he receives God to eternal salvation. 'Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.' Now, unless he be born of God, he cannot see it: suppose the kingdom of God be what it will, he cannot see it before he be begotten of God. . . . Believing is the consequence of the new birth; 'not of blood, nor of the will of man, but of God.' . . .
A child that is newly born, if it have not other comforts to keep it warm than it had in its mother's womb, it dies; it must have something got for its succour: so Christ had swaddling clothes prepared for him; so those that are born again, they must have some promise of Christ to keep them alive; those that are in a carnal state, they warm themselves with other things; but those that are born again, they cannot live without some promise of Christ to keep them alive; as he did to the poor infant in Ezekiel 16:8: I covered thee with embroidered gold: and when women are with child, what fine things will they prepare for their child! Oh, but what fine things has Christ prepared to wrap all in that are born again! . . . 
A child, when it is in its mother's lap, the mother takes great delight to have that which will be for its comfort; so it is with God's children, they shall be kept on his knee (Isa 66:11): 'They shall suck and be satisfied with the breasts of her consolations'; verse 13: 'As one whom his mother comforteth, so will I comfort you.' There is a similitude in these things that nobody knows of, but those that are born again.
There is usually some similitude betwixt the father and the child. It may be the child looks like its father; so those that are born again, they have a new similitude--they have the image of Jesus Christ (Gal 4). Every one that is born of God has something of the features of heaven upon him. . . . Christ describes children of the devil by their features--the children of the devil, his works they will do; all works of unrighteousness, they are the devil's works: if you are earthly, you have borne the image of the earthly; if heavenly, you have borne the image of the heavenly.
When a man has a child, he trains him up to his own liking--they have learned the custom of their father's house; so are those that are born of God--they have learned the custom of the true church of God; there they learn to cry 'My Father' and 'My God'; they are brought up in God's house, they learn the method and form of God's house, for regulating their lives in this world.
Children, it is natural for them to depend upon their father for what they want; if they want a pair of shoes, they go and tell him; if they want bread, they go and tell him; so should the children of God do. Do you want spiritual bread? go tell God of it. Do you want strength of grace? ask it of God. Do you want strength against Satan's temptations? go and tell God of it. When the devil tempts you, run home and tell your heavenly Father--go, pour out your complaints to God; this is natural to children; if any wrong them, they go and tell their father; so do those that are born of God, when they meet with temptations, go and tell God of them.
All God's children are criers--cannot you be quiet without you have a bellyful of the milk of God's Word? cannot you be satisfied without you have peace with God? Pray you, consider it, and be serious with yourselves; if you have not these marks, you will fall short of the kingdom of God--you shall never have an interest there; 'there' is no intruding. They will say, 'Lord, Lord, open to us; and he will say, I know you not.' No child of God, no heavenly inheritance. We sometimes give something to those that are not our children, but [we do] not [give them] our lands. O do not flatter yourselves with a portion among the sons, unless you live like sons. When we see a king's son play with a beggar, this is unbecoming; so if you be the king's children, live like the king's children; if you be risen with Christ, set your affections on things above, and not on things below; when you come together, talk of what your Father promised you; you should all love your Father's will, and be content and pleased with the exercises you meet with in the world. . . .
Lastly, If you be the children of God, learn that lesson--Gird up the loins of your mind, as obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to your former conversation; but be ye holy in all manner of conversation. Consider that the holy God is your Father, and let this oblige you to live like the children of God, that you may look your Father in the face, with comfort, another day.


[1] John Bunyan, “Which Were Born, Not of Blood, nor of the Will of the Flesh, nor of the Will of Man, but of God,” A Sermon on the Text of John 1:13; in George Offor’s, The Whole Works of John Bunyan: Accurately Reprinted from the Author’s Own Editions, with Pictorial Prefaces, Notes, and Life of John Bunyan (London: Blackie & Sons Publishers, 1875); (reprint Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Book House, 1977), Vol. II, 755-758 (page citations are in the Baker reprint edition).      

[2] Ibid, 755. This comment begins the text as an “Advertisement” in the original manuscript. “[ADVERTISEMENT BY THE EDITOR] This sermon, although very short, is peculiarly interesting: how it was preserved we are not told; but it bears strong marks of having been published from notes taken by one of the hearers. There is no proof that any memorandum or notes of this sermon was found in the autograph of the preacher. In the list of Bunyan's works published by Chas. Doe, at the end of the 'Heavenly Footman,' March 1690, it stands No. 44. He professes to give the title-page, word for word, as it was first printed, It is, 'Mr. John Bunyan's last sermon, at London, preached at Mr. Gamman's meeting-house, near White chapel, August 19th, 1688, upon John 1:13: showing a resemblance between a natural and a spiritual birth; and how every man and woman may try themselves, and know whether they are born again or not.' Published 1689, in about one sheet in 12mo. From this it appears to have been preached only two days before his fatal illness, and twelve days before his decease, which took place August 31st, 1688. The disease which terminated his invaluable life, was brought on by a journey to Reading on horseback, undertaken with the benevolent design of reconciling an offended father to his son. Having accomplished his object, he rode to London; on his way home, through a heavy rain, the effects of which appeared soon after this, his last sermon was preached. He bore, with most exemplary patience and resignation, the fever which invaded his body; and, at a distance from his wife and family, in the house of his friend Mr. Strudwick, at Snow Hill, his pilgrimage was ended, and he fell asleep in perfect peace, to awake amidst the harmonies and glory of the celestial city. GEO. OFFOR”.


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