All Loves Excelling is John Bunyan’s sermon on Ephesians 3:17-18, ‘That ye … may be able to comprehend with all saints, what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; and to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge.’ It was first titled ‘The Saints’ Knowledge of Christ’s Love’ and is worthy of being ranked alongside Sibbes and deals with a much neglected subject area.
FROM THE FOREWORD: This is a new edition of John Bunyan’s treatise on Ephesians 3:17b-19 which he himself prepared for the press. It is taken from the second volume of Bunyan’s works (George Offor edition) which was re-published by Banner of Truth in 1991. The text remains largely unaltered but slight adjustments have been made in order to accommodate the arrangement of the material into chapters. Even these divisions, however, correspond to Bunyan’s own layout of his material. A detailed breakdown of the structure of Bunyan’s meditation on the greatness of the love of Christ is found at the end of this book by way of an appendix.
The subject matter of this work which was first preached, is greatly needed today. On the one hand, experiences of the Spirit are being claimed from which the glory of the redeemer and the wonder of his love are quite absent, while on the other, an almost total attention to the understanding and practising of scripture truth is having the effect of marginalising the experiential element in true, spiritual knowledge.
Bunyan’s description of Christ’s love to believers and how they ought to know it, cuts in both the above-mentioned directions. From some 440 Bible references he shows how knowing Christ’s love is the message of Scripture and also the essence of heaven, partly possessed and expressed on earth. Those who know it are rich beyond measure and they are the people who ‘sweeten the churches and bring glory to God and to religion’.
Table of Contents:
|DESCRIBING THE INEXPRESSIBLE|
|Ephesians 3:18, 19 in context|
|The verses – the terms of measurement contained in them – the reason for their use – the fulness implied in them.||3|
|The Breadth of Christ’s Love||8|
|The Length of Christ’s Love||12|
|The Depth of Christ’s Love||15|
|The Height of Christ’s Love||20|
|DESIRING THE INCOMPARABLE|
|Praying for an Ability|
|Needed because of the weakness of grace and human infirmity – also the mysterious nature of God’s dealings||31|
|Praying for an Understanding|
|A mark of a gospel minister – an indication of the blessings available for the saints||36|
|Praying for a Knowledge|
|Of Christ’s own love and its unsearchable greatness||46|
|OBTAINING THE UNSURPASSABLE|
|Knowing the Nature of Christ’s Love|
|It is free – divine – heavenly – everlasting||81|
|Knowing the Degrees of Christ’s Love|
|He became incarnate – stooped lower than the rank of angels – persevering with sinners||88|
|Knowing the Mystery of Christ’s Love|
|It is best known as something that is beyond being fully known||98|
|USES AND COUNSELS|
|See the greatness of God’s good will to believers||111|
|Its message to believers and ways to comply||112|
|Its message to unbelievers||124|
|Appendix-The Analysis of the Treatise||125|
John Bunyan (1628-1688) was born the son of a metalworker near Bedford, England. He went on to become a famous preacher and writer and during his life penned over 2 million words, his most famous work being ‘The Pilgrim’s Progress’.