To Christian Behavior by John Bunyan
To Issues Christians Face
This is the Introduction to the Book Christian Behavior by
Christian Behavior Being the fruits of true Christianity: Teaching husbands, wives,
parents, children, masters, servants, etc., how to walk so as to please God. With a word
of direction to all backsliders.
Advertisement by the Editor
This valuable practical treatise, was first published as a pocket volume about the year
1674, soon after the author's final release from his long and dangerous imprisonment. It
is evident from the concluding paragraph that he considered his liberty and even his life
to be still in a very uncertain state; not from the infirmities of age, for he was then in
the prime of life; but from the tyranny of the government, and probably from the effects
of his long incarceration in a damp, unhealthy jail.
It is the best and most scriptural guide that has ever appeared to aid us in the
performance of relative duties: written with originality of thought and that peculiar and
pious earnestness which so distinguishes all his works. No one can read this book, without
finding in it his own portrait truly and correctly drawn to the life. Many have been the
hearers of the word in its public ministration, who have been astonished that a faithful
minister has not only opened their outward conduct, but the inward recesses of their
heartsand have inquired with wonder, 'Where could he get such a knowledge of my heart?'
The usages and feelings of every part of the human family the rich and poor outward
professors or openly profaneGod fearers or God defiers are displayed in the following
pages as accurately as if the author had been present in every family upon earth, and had
not only witnessed the conduct of the happy and of the miserable in every grade; but he
goes within and unvails that mystery of iniquity the human heart, its secret springs,
feelings, and machinations. What mysterious power could this uneducated man have
possessed, thus to dive into the most subtle of all secret repositories, the human heart!
Could he have left his body at times and his invisible spirit have entered all chambers,
as was said of an ancient philosopher, 1 still time would have been too short even to have
transiently surveyed outward conduct; and then he could not have entered into the thoughts
of others. Reader, the fountain of all hidden things was open to him. Shut up for many
years in prison, with the key in his possession which unlocks all the mysteries of earth,
and heaven, and hellhe diligently used his time and all was revealed to him. He makes the
source of his knowledge no secret, but invites you to search, as he did, this storehouse
of things new and old. It was the Bible which unfolded to him all the great events of time
and of eternity all the secret springs of states, and families, and individualswonderous
book! It made an uneducated artizan wiser than all the philosophers who have been
contented with Plato, Aristotle, Pliny, Plutarch, and the most renowned of human writers.
Not only is the real state of human nature revealed with unerring truth, as suffering
under a cruel malady, strangely diverse in its operations, but all tending to the
downward, dark, dreary road to misery temporal and eternal: but it also displays the
antidote; an infallible remedy against all the subtilties of this tortuous disease.
Reader, this treasure is in our hands. How great is the responsibility. How blessed are
those who with earnest prayer for divine illuminationreadponderand relying upon the aid of
the Holy Spirit, understand and instantly obey the sacred precepts which its pages unfold.
Weigh well their nature and tendency, as Bunyan opens them in this invaluable treatise.
They lead step by step from darkness to light. It may be a tempestuous passage in the dim
twilight, as it was with himbut it is safe and leads to the fountain of happiness the
source of blessedness the presence and smiles of God and the being conformed to his image.
In proportion as we are thus transformed in our minds, we shall be able to fulfil all our
duties and behavior as becometh Christians. We dare not seek to avoid these duties because
they are full of anxieties. Blessed are those who know and feel the ties of church
fellowshipor the nearer union of husband and wife, that type of the mystical union of
Christ and his church. Happy are those who piously discharge parental and filial duties,
that figure of the relationship which the Almighty, in infinite condescension, owns
between him and his fallen but renewed creatures. Vows of celibacy disturb all the order
and harmonies of creation, and are fleshly, sensual, devilish. The unmarried are strangers
to those delightful or painful sensibilities which drive the soul to continual converse
with God, either in heart- felt praises or for divine assistance to glorify him in the
discharge of domestic duties. They who vow celibacy, fly in the face of the infinitely
wise eternal, who said, 'It is not good for man to be alone.' He sets up his puny
antagonism to omnipotence. It is true, that in the prospect of the desolations which were
foretold by the Saviour and were about to be poured out upon Jerusalem, 'for the present
distress,' 'the short time' Paul advised, not commanded, a temporary deviation from the
order of naturelike an eclipse of the sun or moonfor a 'short time' which no one could
wish to be prolonged. We are bound, in the expectation of the divine approbation, not to
shrink from duties, but to seek wisdom to fulfil them; and in this little work we have a
scriptural guide to which we shall do well to take heed. It is a peculiarly solemn
legacythe author's ardent desire is thus expressed; 'Before I die [as the greatest of all
the duties he had to perform] let me provoke you to faith and holiness.' Be it our duty
and privilege to examine our conduct faithfully by those portions of holy writ, with which
this treatise is beautifully adorned. It was written in the prospect of sufferings and
death, and yet how serene was his soul. No cloud, no doubts or fears are seen; his legacy
to us as well as to those who survived him is, 'Love one another when I am deceased.' My
labours of love to you are limited to this world. '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.' Consider what he has advanced, and the scriptures by which
every sentence is confirmed, and may his concluding and fervent prayer be answered to our
souls: 'The Lord give us understanding in all things. Farewell.' GEO. OFFOR.
To Christian Behavior by John Bunyan
To Issues Christians Face