Monday, 27 January 2014


Title of the Book: The Jerusalem Sinner Saved
Author: John Bunyan
Publisher: Banner of Truth
Publisher's address or where the book may be obtained: 3 Murrayfield Road, Edinburgh, EH12 6EL
Year of publication: First printed 1691 This edition 2005
Number of pages: 127
Hardback or paperback: Paperback
Price: £5.00
ISBN: 0-85151-914-8

This book (available here online in .pdf file) is yet another evangelistic gem from the prolific pen of the Puritan, John Bunyan. The whole thrust is to show how the vilest sinner can be saved, by taking the words of Christ in Luke 24:47 "And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem." Why start at Jerusalem? Simply, because they were the greatest sinners on earth. They had just crucified the Lord of Glory and if they could be saved, then no other sinner should despair.

Bunyan writes systematically and from the heart, commenting, "I have been vile myself, but have obtained mercy; and I would have my companions in sin partake of mercy too: and, therefore, I have writ this little book." Unlike some of his other books, Bunyan's points and sub points are not so numerous and therefore easier to follow. He simply explains the text, gives 8 reasons why Christ should be offered to the greatest sinners first, draws 11 doctrinal applications, answers 4 possible objections and then concludes with a further encouragement to receive Christ and his benefits. A most helpful analysis appears at the back of the book.

Bunyan's quaintness is seen in this book.  In a self confessed homely illustration, to show that Satan's kingdom is greatly weakened when the worst sinners are saved, he speaks of a louse infested family where the quickest way to clear the whole family is to sweeten the skin, head and clothes of the chief breeders. This book also contains the oft quoted dialogue which Bunyan imagined took place between Peter and the Jerusalem sinners at Pentecost. As they objected that they had plotted the murder of the Son of God, had spat in his face and mocked Him etc., Peter simply replied that forgiveness of sins was to be preached to every one of them. 

Obviously, we would like to see wicked sinners access this slim, easy read, and very presentable volume. It is a good read too for all Reformed preachers. Here is one Calvinist who has no difficulty with the words: "Don't let Jesus lose his longing, since it is for thy salvation…" (Introduction p. xv) However, overall, Bunyan does not present a weak, helpless Christ but One mighty to save. It would be good also for those whose emphasis seems to be to keep the non elect out rather than gather the true elect in.

Colin Maxwell

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