Short pithy gems from John Bunyan

(1628 1688)

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Prayer is a sincere, sensible, affectionate pouring out of the soul to God, through Christ, in the strength and assistance of the Spirit for such things as God has promised in His Word.

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Temptations, when we meet them at first, are as the lion that reared upon Samson. But if we overcome them, the next time we see them we shall find a nest of honey within them.

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The truths that I know best I have learned on my knees. I never know a thing well until it is burned into my heart by prayer.

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Let death come when it will it can do the Christian no harm, for it will be but a passage . . .
out of a prison and into a palace;
out of a sea of troubles and into a haven of rest;
out of a crowd of enemies and into an innumerable company of true, loving, and faithful friends;
out of shame, reproach, and contempt and into exceeding great and eternal glory!

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There has not been one tear dropped from your tender eye against your lusts, the love of this world, or for more communion with Jesus Christ but as it is now in the bottle of God.

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In times of affliction we commonly meet with the sweetest experiences of the love of God.

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An idle man's brain is the devil's workshop!

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Talkative represents the man or woman who delights in talking about divine things but has only theoretical knowledge of such things. No actual personal heart experience correlates to the matters they love to discuss so eloquently. They are often highly esteemed by others but those closest to them would quickly betray a life out of sync with their words. The mask fashioned by fluency with all divine subjects hides their real life.

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Prayer will make a man cease from sin or sin will entice a man to cease from prayer.

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The fear of God is the beginning of wisdom. Those who lack the beginning have neither middle nor end.

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In prayer, it is better to have a heart without words than words without a heart.

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The truths that I know best, I have learned on my knees. I never know a thing well until it is burned into my heart by prayer.

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The best prayer I ever prayed had enough sin to damn the whole world!

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Whatever contradicts the Word of God should be instantly resisted as diabolical.

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The Lord uses his flail of tribulation to separate the chaff from the wheat.

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Christ is the desire of nations, the joy of angels, the delight of the Father. What solace then must that soul be filled with, who has the possession of Him to all eternity!

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Christian, let God's distinguishing love to you be a motive to you to fear Him greatly. He has put His fear in your heart, and may not have given that blessing to your neighbor, perhaps not to your husband, your wife, your child, or your parent! Oh, what an obligation should this thought lay upon your heart to greatly fear the Lord! Remember also that this fear of the Lord is His treasure, a choice jewel, given only to favorites, and to those who are greatly beloved.

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You have not lived today until you have done something for someone who can never repay you.

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The reason why the Christians in this day are at such a loss as to some things is that they are contented with what comes from man's mouth, without searching and kneeling before God to know of Him the truth of things.

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If my life is fruitless it doesn't matter who praises me.
If my life is fruitful it doesn't matter who criticizes me.

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Pray often, for prayer is a shield to the soul, a sacrifice to God, and a scourge to Satan.

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No man, without trials and temptations can attain a true understanding of the Holy Scriptures.

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What God says is best is best though all the men in the world are against it.

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The difference between true and false repentance lies in this: the man who truly repents cries out against his evil heart; but the other, as Eve, cries out against the serpent, or something else.

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It is sad to see how the most of men neglect their precious souls, turning their backs upon the glorious gospel, and little minding a crucified Jesus when, in the meanwhile, their bodies are well provided for, their estates much regarded, and the things of this present life are highly prized. This is as if the darling was of less value than a clod of earth; an immortal soul was of less value, than a perishing body; a precious Savior was of less value, than unsatisfying creatures.

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Grace can pardon our ungodliness and justify us with Christ's righteousness.
Grace can put the Spirit of Jesus Christ within us.
Grace can help us, when we are down.
Grace can heal us, when we are wounded.
Grace can multiply pardons, for our multiple transgressions.

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It is possible to learn all about the mysteries of the Bible and never be affected by it in one's soul. Great knowledge is not saving grace.

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I saw that it was not my good frame of heart that made my righteousness better, nor my bad frame that made my righteousness worse; for my righteousness was Jesus Christ himself, the same yesterday and today and forever.

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If people really see that Christ has removed the fear of punishment from them by taking it into Himself they won't do whatever they want, they'll do whatever He wants.

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There is a warning here for true pilgrims. Beware of the talker but also be careful not to judge too quickly those whom God has blessed with both genuine grace and a fluency to speak of divine mercy in ways more eloquent than others. The proof is in the life-not a perfect life but a life that both delights in divine truth and magnifies God the only giver of the sovereign grace that always produces the truly fruitful, fragrant life.

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Christians are like the several flowers in a garden that have each of them the dew of Heaven, which, being shaken with the wind, they let fall at each other's roots, whereby they are jointly nourished, and become nourishers of each other.

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No child of God sins to that degree as to make himself incapable of forgiveness.

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Indeed, this is one of the greatest mysteries in the world, namely, that a righteousness that resides in Heaven, should justify me, a sinner on earth!

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Such is the effect of the grace of God in the heart of a pilgrim; while on one hand he sees the propensity of his evil nature to every sin which has been committed by others, and is humbled. He also confesses, that, by no power of his own, is he preserved but ever gives the glory to the God of all grace, by whose power alone he is kept from falling.

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If we have not quiet in our minds outward comfort will do no more for us than a golden slipper on a gouty foot.

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The best prayers have often more groans than words.

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I have often thought that the best Christians are found in the worst of times.

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Conversion is not the smooth, easy-going process some men seem to think. It is wounding work, this breaking of the hearts but without wounding there is no saving. Where there is grafting there will always be a cutting, the graft must be let in with a wound; to stick it onto the outside or to tie it on with a string would be of no use. Heart must be set to heart and back to back or there will be no sap from root to branch. And this, I say, must be done by a wound, by a cut.

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Great sins draw out great grace; and where guilt is most terrible and fierce there the mercy of God in Christ, when showed to the soul, appears most high and mighty.

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He who is down needs fear no fall. He who is low, no pride.
He who is humble, ever shall have God to be his Guide.

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It is not the mouth that is the main thing to be looked at in prayer but whether the heart is so full of affection and earnestness in prayer with God, that it is impossible to express their sense and desire; for then a man desires indeed, when his desires are so strong, many, and mighty, that all the words, tears, and groans that can come from the heart, cannot utter them.

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A man there was, though some did count him mad the more he cast away the more he had.

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Just as Christian came up to the Cross his burden loosed from off his shoulders, fell from off his back, and began to tumble down the hill, and so it continued to do until it came to the mouth of the sepulcher. There it fell in, and I saw it no more!

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Faith is a fruit, work, or gift of the Spirit of God, whereby a poor soul is enabled through the mighty operation of God, in a sense of its sins and wretched estate, to lay hold on the righteousness, blood, death, resurrection, ascension, intercession, and coming again of the Son of God who was crucified for our sins.

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As your faith is such your hope will be. Hope is never ill, when faith is well; nor strong, if faith is weak.

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A little from God is better than a great deal from men.

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One leak will sink a ship and one sin allowed, will destroy a sinner.

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He has given me rest by His sorrow and life by His death.

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Take heed of driving so hard after this world, as to hinder yourself from those duties towards God, which you are by grace obliged to; as private prayer, reading the scriptures, and Christian conference.

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Though there is not always grace where there is the fear of Hell.
Yet, surely there is no grace, where there is no fear of God.

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Without the Spirit, man is so infirm that he cannot, with all other means whatever, be enabled to think one right saving thought of God, of Christ, or of his blessed things.

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Hope has a thick skin and will endure many a blow. It will put on patience as a vestment and will endure all things for the joy that is set before it. Hence patience is called patience of hope, because it is hope that makes the soul exercise patience under the cross, until the time comes to enjoy the crown!

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The spirit of prayer is more precious than treasures of gold and silver.

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Do you understand me, sinful soul?

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Jesus wrestled with justice that you might have rest.
He wept and mourned that you might laugh and rejoice.
He was betrayed that you might go free.
He was apprehended that you might escape.
He was condemned that you might be justified.
He was killed that you might live.
He wore a crown of thorns that you might wear a crown of glory.
He was nailed to the cross, with His arms wide open to show with what freeness all His merits shall be bestowed on the coming soul; and how heartily He will receive it into His bosom!

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I will stay in prison until the moss grows on my eye lids rather than disobey God.

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I am content with what I have be it little, or much.

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Nothing can render affliction so insupportable, as the load of sin. Would you then be fitted for afflictions? Be sure to get the burden of your sins laid aside, and then whatever affliction you may meet with, will be very easy to you.

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He who lives in sin, and looks for happiness hereafter is like him that sows cockle-weeds, and thinks to fill his barn with wheat.

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Prayer opens the heart to God, and it is the means by which the soul, though empty, is filled with God.

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At the day of Doom, men shall be judged according to their fruits. It will not be said then: Did you believe? But, were you doers or talkers only?

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Sincerity carries the soul in all simplicity to open its heart to God.

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We know not the matter of the things for which we should pray, neither the object to whom we pray, nor the medium by or through whom we pray. None of these things know we but by the help and assistance of the Spirit.

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He who forgets his friend is ungrateful to him.
He who forgets his Savior is unmerciful to himself.

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Prayer is a shield to the soul.

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Afflictions make the heart more deep, more experimental, more knowing and wise.

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Though it be said that faith comes by hearing yet it is the Spirit who works faith in the heart through hearing, or else they are not profited by hearing.

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I have given Him my faith, and sworn my allegiance to Him. How, then, can I go back from this, and not be hanged as a traitor?

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You have chosen the roughest road but it leads straight to Heaven!

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I will stay in jail to the end of my days before I make a butchery of my conscience.

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A sensible thanksgiving for mercies received, is a mighty prayer in the Spirit of God. It prevails with Him unspeakably.

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Sleep is sweet to the laboring man.

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Then I saw that there was a way to Hell even from the gates of Heaven!

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A tender heart is a wakeful, watchful heart. It watches against sin in the soul, sin in the family, sin in the calling, sin in spiritual duties and performances.

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It is said that in some countries trees will grow but will bear no fruit because there is no winter there. Just so, your afflictions are needed for your growth in grace.

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If you are not a praying person you are not a Christian.

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Farewell, I wish our souls may meet with comfort at the journey's end.

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The heart must be beaten or bruised and then the sweet fragrance will come out.

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Fear, lest, by forgetting what you are by nature you also forget the need that you have of continual pardon, support, and supplies from the Spirit of grace, and so grow proud of your own abilities, or of what you have received from God.

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Man indeed is the most noble, by creation, of all the creatures in the world; but by sin he has made himself the most ignoble.

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I come from the Town of Stupidity it lies about four degrees beyond the City of Destruction.

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The heart, when broken, is like sweet spices when beaten; for as such cast their fragrant scent into the nostrils of men so the heart, when broken, casts its sweet smell into the nostrils of God.

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Old truths are always new to us, if they come with the fragrance of Heaven upon them.

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Their bodies will be raised from the dead as vessels for the soul-vessels of wrath. The soul will breathe hell-fire, and smoke and coal will seem to hang upon its burning lips; yes the face, eyes, and ears will seem to be chimneys and vents for the flame, and the smoke of the burning, which God, by His breath, has kindled therein, and upon, them, which will be held one in another, to the great torment and distress of each other.

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Riches and power, what is there more in the world? For money answers all things that is, all but soul concerns. It can neither be a price for souls while here nor can that, with all the forces of strength, recover one out of Hell fire.

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Integrity is the same when alone, as it is before the face of the world. It knows not how to wear two masks one for an appearance before men, and another when alone.

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Great grace and small gifts are better than great gifts and no grace.

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Prayer is an ordinance of God, that must continue with a soul so long as it is on this side glory.

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His love is what makes us live, love, sing, and praise forever.

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Run when I can; walk when I cannot run; and creep when I cannot walk.

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In all your prayers, forget not to thank the Lord for his mercies.

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Many professors are saint abroad and a devil at home.

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It is easier going out of the way when we are in than going in when we are out.

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Nothing can hurt me except sin;
nothing can grieve me except sin;
nothing can defeat me except sin.

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To lay hold of and receive the gospel by a true and saving faith is an act of the soul that has been made a new creature, which is the workmanship of God. Whoever receives the grace that is offered in the gospel . . .
they must be quickened by the power of God,
their eyes must be opened,
their understandings must be illuminated,
their ears must be unstopped,
their hearts must be circumcised,
their wills must be rectified,
and the Son of God revealed to them.

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To pray rightly, you must make God your hope, stay, and all.

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I seek a place that can never be destroyed, one that is pure, and that fades not away, and it is laid up in Heaven, and safe there, to be given, at the time appointed, to those who seek it with all their heart. Read it so, if you will, in my book.

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All that the Father gives me shall come. Here, therefore, the Lord Jesus positively determines to put forth such a sufficiency of all grace as shall effectually perform this promise. They shall come; that is, he will cause them to come, by infusing of an effectual blessing into all the means that shall be used to that end.

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You are beaten that you may be better.

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The law, instead of cleansing the heart from sin only revives it, puts strength into, and increases it in the soul even as it does discover and forbid it, for it does not give power to subdue.