« ForrigeFortsett »
Evangelist directs Christian where to apply for instruction.
upon my back (9) will sink me lower than the
grave, and I shall fall into Tophet.* And, Sir, if I be not fit to go to prison, I am not fit to go to judgment, and from thence to execution: and the thoughts of these things make me cry.
Then said Evangelist, if this be thy condition, why standest thou still ? He answered, Because I know not whither to go. Then he gave him a parchment roll, and there was written within, “ Fly ș from the wrath to come.” (h)
The man therefore read it, and looking upon Evangelist very carefully said, Whither must I fly? Then said Evangelist, pointing his finger over a very wide field, Do you see yonder Wicket-gate? I The man said, No. Then said the other, Do you see yonder į shining light? (i) He said I think I do.
Then said Evangelist, Keep that light in your eye, and go up directly thereto, so shalt thou see the gate ; at which, when thou knockest, it shall be told ihee what thou shalt do. So I saw in my dream, that the man began to run. Now he had not run far from his own door, but his wife and children perceiving it, began to cry after him || to return ; but the man put his fingers in his ears and ran on, crying, “ Life! life! eternal life!" So he looked not behind him,* but fled towards the middle of the plain. (k)
* Isa. xxx. 33. § Matt. iii. 7. Matt. vii, 14. § Psa. cxix. 1, 5. | Luke siv. 26. * Gen. xiv. 17.
(5) The convictions of the Spirit of God in the heart make a vian feel the insupportable burden of sin upon his back, and to dreod the wrath of God revealed from heaven against sin.
(by The gospel never leaves a convinced sinner in the miserable situation in which it finds him without hope and relief; but points him to Jesus for safety and salvation, ibat he may flee from himself and the wrath he feels in himself, to the fulness of the grace of Christ, signified by the Wicket-GATE.
(i) Christ, and the way to him, cannot be found without the word. The word directs to Christ, and the Spirit sbines into the beart, whereby the sinner sees Christ in the word. This makes God's word precious.
(k) When a sinner begins to flee from destruction, carnal
Obstinate and Pliable endeavour to oppose Christian.
The neighbours also came out to see him run; and, as he ran, some mocked, others threatened, and some cried after him to return; and among those that did so, there were two that were resolved to fetch him back by force. The name of the one was Obstinate, and the name of the other Pliable. Now, by this time, the man was got a good distance from them ; but, however, they were resolved to pursue him, which they did, and in a little time they overtook him. Then said the man, Neighbours, wherefore are ye come? They said, To persuade you to
back with us: but he said, That can by no means be: you dwell, said he, in the city of Destruction (the place also where I was born,) I see it to be so; and dying there sooner or later, you will sink lower. than the grave, into a place that burns with fire and brimstone. Be content, good neighbours, and go along with me. (1)
What, said Obstinate, and leave our friends and our comforts behind us?
Yes, said Christian (for that was his name), because that “all which you shall forsake, * " is not worthy to be compared with a little of that that I am seeking to enjoy: and if you will go along with me, and behold it, you shall fare as myself; for there, where I go, is enough, and to spare :t come and prove my words.
Obst. What are the things you seek, since you leave all the world to find them?
Chr. I seek an “inheritance incorruptible, unde
* 2 Cor. iv. 18. + Luke xv. 17. relations will strive to prevent him ; but it is wiser to stop our ears against the reasonings of flesh and blood, than to parley with them. Carnal affections cannot prevail over spiritual convictions. The sioner, who is in earnest for salvation, will be deaf to invitations to go back. The more he is solicited by them, the faster he will flee from them.
(1) Pliable is easily persuaded to go with Christian. We read in scripture, of one wbo came to our Lord, and said, Master, I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest; but when he was told of the hardships he was to expect, we read no more of his following
Pliable consents to go with Christian.
filed, and that fadeth not away ;t and it is laid up in heaven, § and safe there to be bestowed, at the time appointed, and on them that diligently seek it. Read it so, if you will, in my book.
Obst. Tush, said Obstipate ; away with your book: will you go back with us or no?
No, not 1, said the other; because I have laid my hand to the plough.t
Obst. Come, then neighbour Pliable, let us turn again, and go home without him; there is a company of these crazy-headed coxcombs, that when they take a fancy by the end, are wiser in their own eyes than seven men that can render a reason.
Pli. Then said Pliable, Don't revile; if what the good Christian says is true, the things he looks after are better than ours: my heart inclines to go
with my neighbour.
Obst. What! more fools still ! Be ruled by me, and go back; who knows whither such a brainsick fellow will lead you? Go back, go back, and be wise. (m)
Chr. Nay, but do thou come with thy neighbour Pliable; there are such things to be had' which I spoke of, and many glories beside; if you believe not me, read here in this book, and for the truth of what is expressed therein, behold all is confirmed by the blood of Him that made it.t
Pli. Well, neighbour Obstinate, saith Pliable, I begin to come to a point: I intend to go along with this good man, and to cast in my lot with him; but my good companion, do you know the way to this desired place? Chr. I am directed by a man whose name is Evan
# 1 Pet. i. 4. & Luke ix. 62. fi Heb. is. 17.-21. Christ. - A man may be persuaded to take up the profession of religion by reason and arguinent; but spiritual conviction of sin, and sound conversion to Christ, is the work of the Holy Ghost.
(m) He who never became a fool' in the eyes of the world for Christ, is not yet made wise unto salvation through the faith of