« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »
his hand, and a great burden upon his back. I looked, and saw him open the book, and read therein ; and, as he read, he wept and trembled; and, not being able longer to contain, he brake out with a lamentable cry,* saying, “ What shall I do !!
In this plight, therefore, he went home, and restrained himself as long as he could, that his wife and children should not perceive his distress; but he could not be silent long, because that his trouble increased. Wherefore, at length, he brake his mind to his wife and children; and thus he began to talk to them: O my dear wife, said he, and you the children of my bowels, I, your dear friend, am in myself undone by reason of a burden that lieth hard upon me; moreover, I am certainly
a Isaiah lxiv. 5. Luke xiv. 33. Psalm xxxviii. 4. Hab. ii. 2.
b Acts ii. 37.
* The cry of an awakened sinner, who sees his own righteousness to be as filthy rags, his soul in a state of wrath and wretchedness, exposed to everlasting destruction : feeling the burden of his sins upon his back, he turns his face from his own house, from himself, from all his false hopes and vain confidences, for refuge, and takes his Bible in his hand, to direct him where he shall fee for refuge and salvation. The more a sinner reads therein, the more he is convinced of the wretched state and ruined condition of his precious immortal soul, and of the necessity of fleeing to Christ for eternal life and salvation. As he reads, he weeps and trembles to think what will become of him. Reader, was this ever your case ? Did you ever see your sins, and feel the burden of them, so as to cry out, in the anguish of your soul, What must I do to be saved ? If not, you will look on this precious book as a roinance or history which no way concerns you; you can no more understand the meaning of it, than if it were written in an unknown tongue : for you are yet carnal, dead in your sins, lying in the arms of the wicked one, in false security. But this book is spiritual; it can only be understood by spiritually-quickened souls, who have experienced that salvation in the heart which begins with a sight of sin, a sense of sin, a fear of destruction, and dread of damnation. Such, and only such, commence Pilgrims from the city of Destruction to the heavenly kingdom.
WAY OF ESCAPE
informed that this our city will be burnt with THIS world. fire from heaven; in which fearful overthrow, both myself, with thee my wife, and you my sweet babes, shall miserably come to ruin, except (the which he knows no yet I see not) some way of escape can be as YET. found, whereby we may be delivered. At this his relations were sore amazed ;* not for that they believed that what he had said to them was true, but because they thought that some frenzy distemper had got into his head; therefore, it drawing towards night, and they hoping that sleep might settle his brains, with all haste they got him to bed.t But the night was as troublesome to him as the day; wherefore, instead of sleeping, he spent it in sighs and tears. So when the morning was come, they would know how he did. He told them, Worse and worse. He also set to talking to them again ; but they began to be hardened. They also thought to drive away his distemper by harsh cannal parand surly carriage to him: sometimes they soul. would deride, sometimes they would chide, and sometimes they would quite neglect him. Wherefore he began to retire himself to his chamber, to pray for and pity them, and also to condole his own misery; he would also walk solitarily in the fields, sometimes reading, and sometimes praying: and thus for some days he spent his time.
Now I saw, upon a time, when he was walking in the fields, that he was (as he was wont) reading in his book, and greatly distressed in his mind; and as he
SIC FOR A SICK
* Conviction of sin in the heart will discover itself to those about us, by the outward conduct and behaviour of the life.
+ When we begin to be wise unto salvation, carnal friends pronounce us mad unto destruction, and administer carnal physic for our sin-sick souls.
read, he burst out, as he had done before, crying, “ What shall I do to be saved ?"*
I saw also that he looked this way, and that way, as if he would run; yet he stood still because (as I perceived) he could not tell which way to go. I looked then, and saw a man named Evangelist coming to him, and asked, Wherefore dost thou cry?t
He answered, Sir, I perceive, by the book in my hand, that I am condemned to die, and after that to come to judgment; and I find that I am not willing to do the first, nor able to do the second." I
Then said Evangelist, Why not willing to die, since this life is attended with so many evils ? The man answered, Because I fear that this burden that is upon my backs 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 conviction of standest thou still ? He answered, Because UP PLEEING I know not whither to go. Then he gave
* No soul was ever in earnest for salvation, till there is a cry in his heart to be saved from damnation.
† Behold here the tender love and care of Jesus, the great Shepherd and Bishop of souls, to sin-distressed, heavy-laden sinners, in sending Evangelist, that is, a preacher of gospel grace, and glad tidings of salvation to them.
A true confession of an enlightened, sensible sinner. § The convictions of the Spirit of God in the heart make a man feel the insupportable burden of sin upon his back, and to dread the wrath of God revealed from heaven against sin.
THE WAY TO
him a parchment roll; and there was written within, “ Fly from the wrath to come."'*
The man therefore read it, and looking upon Evangelist very carefully, said, Whither must I fly? Then said Evangelist, pointing with his finger over a very wide field, Do you see yonder wicket-gate ?: The man said, No. Then said the other, Do you see CHRIST, AND yonder shining light ?ht He said, I think I HIM, CANNOT BE do. Then said Evangelist, Keep that light THE WORD. in your eye, and go up directly thereto, so shalt thou see the gate ; at which, when thou knockest, it shall be told thee 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, when 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..
The neighbours also came out to see him run :$ and,
* 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, that he may Ay from himself, and the wrath he feels in himself, to the fulness of the grace of Christ, signified by the Wicket-gate.
t Christ, and the way to him, cannot be found without the word. The word directs to Christ, and the Spirit shines into the heart, whereby the sinner sees Christ in the word. This makes God's word precious.
When a sinner begins to fly from destruction, carnal 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 sinner 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 fly from them.
§ They who fly from the wrath to come are a gazing-stock to the world.
is he ran, some mockeri, others threatened, and some THEY THAT criei atter him to return ; and among those
that tid so, there were two that were re02. ** RE solver to fetch him back by force. The name ut ilie one was Obstinate, and the name of the other Pliable. Vow by this time the man was got a good (listance 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 you come? They said, To persuade you to go 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.*
OBST. What, said Obstinate, and leave our friends and our comforts behind us!
Chr. Yes, said Christian, (for that was his name,) becanse that all which you shall forsake is not worthy to he compared with a little of that that I am seeking to enjoy and if you will go along with me, and hold it, yon shall fare as I myself; for there, where I go, is enough and to spare. Come away, 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, undefiled, and that fadeth not away; and it is laid up in heaven, and safe there, to be bestowed, at the time appointed, on
1 2 Car in 18.
n Lake 17. 17
H. xi. 6. 16.
* The genuine spirit of a sinner convinced of sin, and fleeing from destruction. He would gladly personade other poor sippers to go with him. The least spark of grace from God in the heart discurers itself m god-ill to men.