In volume 2 of John Bunyan’s Works there’s a longer poem on the church called “The Nature, Excellency, and Government of the House of God.” The first parts of the poem are where Bunyan talks about the builder of the church, the beauty of the church, the strength of the church, and the defender of the church. Then Bunyan discusses the question of who may come into this church? He gives an excellent six verse answer; it’s too long to post here, so I’ll give a few parts of it. Notice the Scripture allusions as you read:
1. This place, as mercy’s arms, stands open to those
That their own happiness used to oppose;
Those under hedges, high-way men, or they
That would not God, nor yet good men obey;
Those that among the bushes used to browse,
Or under hedges used themselves to louze (lounge).
The vilest men, of sinners who are chief,
A fornicator, liar, or a thief,
May turn in hither, here take up and dwell
With those who ransom’d are from death and hell.
2. This place, as hospitals, will entertain,
Those which the lofty of this world disdain:
The poor, the lame, the maimed, halt (lame) and blind,
The leprous, and possessed too, may find
Free welcome here, as also such relief
As ease them will of trouble, pain and grief.
3. This place, as David’s heart, with free consent
Opens to th’ distressed, and the discontent;
Who is in debt, that has not wherewithal (means/supplies)
To quit his scores, may here be free from thrall (slavery):
That man that fears the bailiff, or the jail,
May find one here that will become his bail.
4. Art thou bound over to the great assize (trial),
For heark’ning to the devil and his lies;
Art thou afraid thereat (at that time) to shew thy head,
For fear thou then be sent unto the dead?
Thou may’st come hither, here is room and place,
For such as willingly would live by grace.
At the end of this long poem, Bunyan makes a call to sinners to come to Christ and his church:
“Turn again, sinner, never make a doubt;
Come, the Lord Jesus will not cast thee out!”
This is an amazing poem that shows a deep love, respect, and concern for Christ’s church – attitudes that some modern Christians do not have. Read this to help you grow in your love for the Christ’s bride! (If you do read it, keep a dictionary handy!) You can find this entire excellent poem in various places: Logos Bible Software, Amazon Kindle, or Banner of Truth’s Hardcover Set.
Covenant Presbyterian Church