The Greatness Of The Soul by John Bunyan

The Greatness Of The Soul
Joseph J. Adrian

John Bunyan lamented in his day, ". . . The horrid neglect that everywhere puts forth itself with reference to eternal salvation." He was convinced that there was one in a thousand (perhaps two in ten thousand) that seriously attend to the salvation of their soul. If Bunyan lived today, I think his concern would be much greater now than it was in his day. All of his books have a strong evangelistic thrust——this book especially. As he is considering this portion of God's Word, ". . . or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul," the verse preceding this is, "For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?" Mark 8:36. One human soul is more valuable than "The Whole World." The soul is "The Heart Of Man," the immaterial part of man, and it will exist eternally. The soul has enormous value but "The Natural Man" undervalues the worth of the soul and overvalues "The Things Of This World."

Bunyan defines the soul as ". . . the spiritual, the best, and the most noble part of man, as distinct from the body, even that by which we understand, imagine, reason and discourse." How can we value or estimate the worth of the soul? The price that is paid for something is an indicator of its value. Here is one measure of the soul's greatness-—"The price that Christ paid for it to make it an heir of glory; and that was His precious blood." Another evidence of the soul's value is that the Creator of our soul's desires and delights to have communion and fellowship with lowly man; "He has set apart him that is godly for Himself-—that is for communion with his soul." "I am my beloved's, and his desire is towards me." Song Of Solomon 7:10. Another measure of the soul's great worth is its immortality-—"The soul is immortal; it will have a sensible being forever, none can kill the soul. . . ." The soul cannot cease to be once it has been created. Death separates the body from the soul but does not extinguish its existence. There is nothing in heaven or upon the earth that can destroy one immortal soul (except the Creator of All Things, but His design is for the immortality of the soul).

The soul of man is very valuable——the loss of one's soul is the greatest loss that anyone can experience. Communion with God, peace, joy, happiness, comfort, pleasure are all lost forever. The lost soul's portion is now eternal suffering, the wrath of Almighty God poured out upon it for forsaking God and its rebellion against Him. The lost soul has lost himself-—"...God now has the victory and disposes of all the powers, senses, and passions of the soul for the chastening of him that has lost himself."

What can a man give in exchange for his soul? For those in hell, what would they not give? ". . . in exchange to have another man's virtues instead of his own vices . . . he would desire his soul to be in the same condition as that of the righteous." The lost opportunities, to be reconciled to their Maker, will haunt them in hell forever.

"The Greatness of the Soul" is one of John Bunyan's most important books. I would place "Groans of a Lost Soul" and "The Pilgrim's Progress" along with "The Greatness of the Soul" as Bunyan's most significant works. That is not to say, that all of his books are not valuable, they most certainly are.