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The Returning Backslider! John Bunyan

The Returning Backslider! John Bunyan

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Published by mikejeshurun9210
A restored backslider is of great worth and can be greatly used of God! He knows what it is to be fetched from the world, from the devil, and hell, the second time; and that but few professors know: for few that fall away return to God again. Ay, but this man is come again, wherefore there is news in his mouth; sad news, dreadful news, and news that is to make the standing saint to take heed lest he fall.
A restored backslider is of great worth and can be greatly used of God! He knows what it is to be fetched from the world, from the devil, and hell, the second time; and that but few professors know: for few that fall away return to God again. Ay, but this man is come again, wherefore there is news in his mouth; sad news, dreadful news, and news that is to make the standing saint to take heed lest he fall.

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Published by: mikejeshurun9210 on Aug 27, 2010
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The Returning Backslider
The following is from John Bunyan’s “The Intercession of Christ,”also known as “Christ a Complete Saviour.”
 ________________________________________ A
returning
backslider is a great blessing (I mean intended to be so) to two sorts of men. 1. Tothe elect uncalled. 2. To the elect that are called, and that at present stand their ground. Theuncalled are made to hear him and consider; the called are made to hear him, and are afraid of falling. Behold therefore the mystery of God’s wisdom, and how willing he is that spectatorsshould be warned and made take heed. Yea, he will permit that some of his own shall fall intothe fire, to convince the world that hell is hot, and to warn their brethren to take heed that theyslip not with their feet. I have often said in my heart, that this was the cause why God suffered somany of the believing Jews to fall, namely, that the Gentiles might take heed. ‘O brethren,’ saiththe backslider that is returned, ‘did you see how I left my God? did you see how I turned again tothose vanities from which some time before I fled? Oh! I was deluded; I was bewitched; I wasdeceived: for I found all things from which I fled at first, still worse by far when I went to themthe second time. Do not backslide. Oh! do not backslide. The first ground of your departing fromthem was good;
never tempt God a second time
.’And as he gives us a second testimony, that the world and himself are so as at first he believedthey were; so by this his returning, he testifies that God and Christ are the same, and much morethan ever he believed at first they were. This man has made a proof before and a proof after conviction, of the evil of the one and good of the other. This man has made a proof by feelingand seeing, and that before and after grace received. This man God has set up to be a witness.This man is two men; has the testimony of two men; must serve in the place of two men. Heknows what it is to be fetched from a state of nature by grace; but this all Christians know as wellas he. Ay, but
he knows what it is to be fetched from the world, from the devil, and hell, thesecond time; and that but few professors know: for few that fall away return to God again
.Ay, but this man is come again, wherefore there is news in his mouth; sad news, dreadful news,and news that is to make the standing saint to take heed lest he fall.The returning backslider therefore is
a rare man, a man of worth and intelligence, a man towhom the men of the world should flock, and of whom they should learn to fear the LordGod
. He also is a man of whom the saints should receive both caution, counsel, and strength intheir present standing; and that should, by his harms, learn to serve the Lord with fear, and torejoice with trembling.This man has the second time also had a proof of God’s goodness in his Christ unto him — a proof which the standing Christian has not. I would not tempt him that stands to fall; but thegood that a returning backslider has received at God’s hands, and at the hand of Christ, is adouble good; he has been converted twice; fetched from the world and from the devil, and fromhimself twice (oh grace!), and has been made to know the stability of God’s covenant, theunchangeableness of God’s mind, the sure and lasting truth of his promise in Christ, and of thesufficiency of the merits of Christ, over and over.
 
Of the manner of this man’s coming to God by Christ, I shall also speak a word or two.He comes as the newly awakened sinner comes, and that from the same motives and theknowledge of things. But he hath over and above (which he had as good have been without) thatwhich the newly awakened sinner has not, namely, the guilt of his backsliding,
which is a guiltof worse complexion, of a deeper dye, and of a heavier nature than is any guilt else in theworld
. He is also attended with fears and doubts that arise from other reasons andconsiderations, than do the doubts and fears of the newly awakened man; doubts built upon thevileness of his backsliding. He has also
more dreadful scriptures to consider
, and they willlook more wishfully in his face (yea, and will also make him take notice of their grim physiognomy) than has the newly awakened man. Besides, as a punishment of his backsliding,God
sometimes seems to withhold the sweet influences of his Spirit,
and is as if he would nowtake all away from him, and leave him to those lusts and idols that he left his God to follow.Swarms of his new rogueries shall haunt him in every place, and that not only in the guilt, but inthe filth and pollution of them.
None know the things that haunt the backslider’s mind
; his new sins are all turned talkingdevils, threatening devils, roaring devils, within him. Besides, he doubts of the truth of his firstconversion; consequently he has it lying upon him, as a strong suspicion, that there was nothingof truth in all his first experience; and this also adds lead to his heels, and makes him come, as tosense and feeling, more heavy, and with the greater difficulty, to God by Christ. As thefaithfulness of other men kills him, he cannot see an honest, humble, holy, faithful servant of God, but he is pierced and wounded at the heart. ‘Ay,’ says he, within himself, ‘That man fearsGod; that man hath faithfully followed God; that man, like the elect angels, has kept his place; but I am fallen from my station like a devil. That man honoreth God, edifieth the saints,convinceth the world, and condemneth them, and is become heir of righteousness which is byfaith. But I have dishonored God, stumbled and grieved saints, made the world to blaspheme,and, for aught I know, been the cause of the damnation of many.’These are the things, I say, together with many more of the same kind, that come with him, yea,they will come with him, yea, and will stare him in the face, will tell him of his baseness, andlaugh him to scorn, all the way that he is coming to God by Christ (I know what I say); and thismakes his coming to God by Christ hard and difficult to him. Besides, he thinks saints will beaware of him, will be shy of him, will be afraid to trust him, yea, will tell his Father of him, andmake intercession against him, as Elias did against Israel, or as the men did that were fellowservants with him that took his brother by the throat.Shame covereth his face all the way he comes. He doth not know what to do; the God he isreturning to is the God that he has slighted — the God before whom he has preferred the vilestlust; and he knows God knows it, and has before him his ways.
The man that has been abackslider, and is returning to God, can tell strange stories, and yet such as are very true.
 No man was in the whale’s belly, and came out again alive, but backsliding and returning Jonah;consequently no man could tell how he was there, what he felt there, what he saw there, andwhat workings of heart he had when he was there, so well as he…
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