You're here: » Articles Home » John Bunyan » The Doctrine of the Law and Grace Unfolded » Chapter 16 - A Word of Experience

The Doctrine of the Law and Grace Unfolded: Chapter 16 - A Word of Experience

By John Bunyan

      Now, before I go any further, I must needs speak a word from my own experience of the things of Christ; and the rather, because we have a company of silly ones in this day of ignorance that do either comfort themselves with a notion without the power, or else do both reject the notion and the power of this most glorious Gospel; therefore, for the further conviction of the reader, I shall tell him, with David, something of what the Lord hath done for my soul; and indeed a little of the experience of the things of Christ is far more worth than all the world. It would be too tedious for me to tell thee here all from the first to the last; but something I shall tell thee, that thou mayest not think these things are fables. [This conviction seized on my soul one Sabbath day, when I was at play, being one of the first that I had, which when it came, though it scared me with its terror, yet through the temptation of the devil, immediately striking in therewith, I did rub it off again, and became as vile for some time as I was before, like a wretch that I was]. [21]

      Reader, when it pleased the Lord to begin to instruct my soul, He found me one of the black sinners of the world; He found me making a sport of oaths, and also of lies; and many a soul- poisoning meal did I make out of divers lusts, as drinking, dancing, playing, pleasure with the wicked ones of the world. The Lord finding of me in this condition, did open the glass of His Law unto me, wherein He showed me so clearly my sins, both the greatness of them, and also how abominable they were in His sight, that I thought the very clouds were charged with the wrath of God, and ready to let fall the very fire of His jealousy upon me; yet for all this I was so wedded to my sin, that, thought I with myself, I will have them though I lose my soul, (O wicked wretch that I was!) but God, the great, the rich, the infinite merciful God, did not take this advantage of my soul to cast me away, and say, Then take him, Devil, seeing he cares for Me no more; no, but He followed me still, and won upon my heart, by giving me some understanding, not only into my miserable state, which I was very sensible of, but also that there might be hopes of mercy; also taking away that love to lust, and placing in the room thereof a love to religion; and thus the Lord won over my heart to some desire after the means, to hear the Word, and to grow a stranger to my old companions, and to accompany the people of God, together with giving of me many sweet encouragements from several promises in the Scriptures. But after this, the Lord did wonderfully set my sins upon my conscience, those sins especially that I had committed since the first convictions; temptations also followed me very hard, and especially such temptations as did tend to the making me question of the very way of salvation-viz., whether Jesus Christ was the Saviour or no; and whether I had best to venture my soul upon His blood for salvation, or take some other course.

      But being through grace kept close with God, in some measure, in prayer and the rest of the ordinances, but went about a year and upwards without any sound evidence as from God to my soul touching the salvation that comes by Jesus Christ. But, at the last, as I may say, when the set time was come, the Lord, just before the men called Quakers came into the country, did set me down so blessedly in the truth of the doctrine of Jesus Christ, that it made me marvel to see, first, how Jesus Christ was born of a virgin, walked in the world awhile with His disciples, afterwards hanged on the Cross, spilt His blood, was buried, rose again, ascended above the clouds and heavens, there lives to make intercession, and that He also will come again at the last day to judge the world, and take His saints unto Himself.

      These things, I say, I did see so evidently, even as if I had stood when He was in the world, and also when He was caught up. I having such a change as this upon my soul, it made me wonder; and musing with myself at the great alteration that was in my spirit-for the Lord did also very gloriously give me in His precious Word to back the discovery of the Son of God unto me, so that I can say, through grace, it was according to the Scriptures (1 Cor 15:1-4). And as I was musing with myself what these things should mean, methought I heard such a word in my heart as this-I have set thee down on purpose, for I have something more than ordinary for thee to do; which made me the more marvel, saying, What, my Lord, such a poor wretch as I? Yet still this continued, I have set thee down on purpose, and so forth, with more fresh incomes of the Lord Jesus, and the power of the blood of His Cross upon my soul, even so evidently that I saw, through grace, that it was the blood shed on Mount Calvary that did save and redeem sinners, as clearly and as really with the eyes of my soul as ever, me thought, I had seen a penny loaf bought with a penny; which things then discovered had such operation upon my soul, that I do hope they did sweetly season every faculty thereof. Reader, I speak in the presence of God, and He knows I lie not; much of this, and such like dealings of His, could I tell thee of; but my business at this time is not so to do, but only to tell what operation the blood of Christ hath had over and upon my conscience, and that at several times, and also when I have been in several frames of spirit.

      As, first, sometimes, I have been so loaden with my sins, that I could not tell where to rest, nor what to do; yea, at such times I thought it would have taken away my senses; yet at that time God through grace hath all of a sudden so effectually applied the blood that was spilt at Mount Calvary out of the side of Jesus, unto my poor, wounded, guilty conscience, that presently I have found such a sweet, solid, sober, heart-comforting peace, that it hath made me as if it [my terror] had not been, and withal the same, I may say, and I ought to say, the power of it, hath had such a powerful operation upon my soul, that I have for a time been in a strait and trouble to think that I should love and honour Him no more, the virtue of His blood hath so constrained me.

      Again; sometimes methinks my sins have appeared so big to me that I thought one of my sins have been as big as all the sins of all the men in the nation; ay, and of other nations too, reader; these things be not fancies, for I have smarted for this experience, but yet the least stream of the heart blood of this Man [22] Jesus hath vanished all away, and hath made it to fly, to the astonishment of such a poor sinner; and as I said before, hath delivered me up into sweet and heavenly peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.

      Again; sometimes when my heart hath been hard, dead, slothful, blind, and senseless, which indeed are sad frames for a poor Christian to be in, yet at such a time, when I have been is such a case, then hath the blood of Christ, the precious blood of Christ, the admirable blood of the God of Heaven, that run out of His body when it did hang on the Cross, so softened, livened, quickened, and enlightened my soul, that truly, reader, I can say, O it makes me wonder!

      Again; when I have been loaden with sin, and [I cannot stand here to tell thee of particular temptations]. pestered with several temptations, and in a very sad manner, then have I had the trial of the virtue of Christ's blood with the trial of the virtue of other things; and I have found that when tears would not do, prayers would not do, repentings and all other things could not reach my heart; O then, one touch, one drop, one shining of the virtue of the blood, of that blood that was let out with the spear, it hath in a very blessed manner delivered me, that it hath made me to marvel. O! methinks it hath come with such life, such power, with such irresistible and marvelous glory, that it wipes off all the slurs, silences all the outcries, and quenches all the fiery darts, and all the flames of Hell-fire, that are begotten by the charges of the Law, Satan, and doubtful remembrances of my sinful life.

      Friends, as Peter saith to the church, so I say to you, I have not preached to you cunningly devised fables in telling you of the blood of Christ, and what authority it hath had upon my conscience; O no, but as Peter saith touching the coming of the Lord Jesus into the world, so in some measure I can say of the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ that was shed when He did come into the world. There is not only my single testimony touching this; no, but there are all the Prophets do agree in advancing this in writing, and also all the saints do now declare the same, in speaking forth the amiableness and many powerful virtues thereof. "As for Thee also, by the blood of Thy covenant," saith God to Christ, "I have sent forth Thy prisoners out of the pit wherein is no water" (Zech 9:11). "We have redemption through His blood" (Eph 1:7). Again, "We have redemption through His blood" (Col 1:14). Our robes are washed and made "white in the blood of the Lamb" (Rev 7:14). The devil is overcome through "the blood of the Lamb" (Rev 12:11). Yea, and conscience is purged, too, and that through the blood of the Lamb (Heb 9:14). We have free recourse to the Throne of Grace through the blood of Jesus (Heb 10:19). I could bring thee a cloud of witnesses out of all the types and shadows, and out of the sundry Prophets, and much more out of the New Testament, but I forebear, because I would not be too tedious to the reader in making too large a digression, though I have committed here in this discourse no transgression, for the blood of Christ is precious blood (1 Peter 1:18,19).


      [21] This is one of the very thrilling circumstances described by Bunyan in his Grace Abounding, No. 24:-Sunday sports were then allowed by the State, and after hearing a sermon on the evil of Sabbath-breaking, he went as usual to his sport. On that day it was a game at cat, and as he was about to strike, "a voice did suddenly dart from Heaven into my soul, which said, Wilt thou leave thy sins and go to Heaven, or have thy sins and go to Hell?"-ED.

      [22] The word Man was essential in Bunyan's days, as an antidote to the jargon of the Ranters, who affirmed that Jesus only existed in the heart of the believer.-ED.

Back to John Bunyan index.

See Also:
   The Epistle To The Reader
   Chapter 1 - The Words Opened
   Chapter 2 - What the Covenant of Works Is
   Chapter 3 - Under the Covenant of Works
   Chapter 4 - Who is Under the Covenant of Works
   Chapter 5 - What Men May Attain To
   Chapter 6 - The Doctrine Proved
   Chapter 7 - Free and Unchangeable
   Chapter 8 - The Conditions of the New Covenant
   Chapter 9 - Christ is the Surety of the New Covenant
   Chapter 10 - Christ the Messenger of the New Covenant
   Chapter 11 - Christ the Sacrifice of the New Covenant
   Chapter 12 - Christ the High Priest of the New Covenant
   Chapter 13 - Conditions Fulfilled
   Chapter 14 - Covenant of Grace Unchangeable
   Chapter 15 - Brought into the New Covenant
   Chapter 16 - A Word of Experience
   Chapter 17 - The Privileges of the New Covenant
   Chapter 18 - Two Hell-Bred Objections Answered
   Chapter 19 - Use and Application
   Chapter 20 - A Legal Spirit
   Chapter 21 - The Use of the New Covenant
   Chapter 22 - The Unpardonable Sin
   Chapter 23 - Objections Answered


Like This Page?

© 1999-2019, All rights reserved.