With a word of direction to all backsliders.
By J O H N.B U N Y A N.
Written in 1663, while imprisoned in Bedford Prison.
This was John Bunyan's third book during his first incarceration.
f thou yet, notwithstanding what hath been said, dost remain a backslider:
1. Then remember that thou must die; and remember also, that when the terrors of God, of death, and a backslidden heart, meet together, there will be sad work in that soul; this is the man that hangeth tilting over the mouth of hell, while death is cutting the thread of his life.
2. Remember, that though God doth sometimes, yea, often, receive backsliders, yet it is not always so. Some draw back into perdition; for, because they have flung up God, and would none of him, he in justice flings up them and their souls for ever (Prov 1:24-28).
I have observed, that sometimes God, as it were in revenge for injury done him, doth snatch away souls in the very nick of their backsliding, as he served Lot's wife, when he turned her into a pillar of salt, even while she was looking over her shoulder to Sodom (Gen 19:26). An example that every backslider should remember with astonishment (Luke 17:32).
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 there 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, I 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.