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Evangelist exhorts Christian
i froin the way thereto, hath this wicked man turned
thee, to the bringing of thee almost to destruction : hate, therefore, bis turning thee out of the way, and abhor thyself for hearkening to him.
Secondly, Thou inust abhor his labouring to render the cross odious unto thee ; for thou art to prefer it before the treasures in Egypt. (Heb. xi. 25, 26.) Besides, the King of glory hath told thee, that he that will save his life shall lose it, and that if any man come to him, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be his disciple. (Mark viii. 35. John xii. 25. Matt. x. 37. Luke xiv. 26.) I say, therefore, for a man to labour to persuade thee that that shall be thy death, without which, the truth hath said, thou canst not have eternal life; this doctrine thou must abhor.
Thirdly, Thou must hate his setting of thy feet in the way that leadeth to the ministration of death. And for this thou must consider to whom he sent thee, and also how unable that person was to deliver thee from thy burden.
He to whom thou wast sent for ease, being by vame Legality, is the son of a bond-woman which now is, and is in bondage with her children, (Gal. iv. 21-27.) and is in a mystery this mount Sinai, wbich thou hast feared would fall on thy head. Now if she and her children are in bondage, how canst thou expect by them to be made free? This Legality, therefore, is not able to set thee free from thy burden. No man was as yet ever rid of his burden by om, no, nor ever is like to be: ye cannot be justified by the works of the law; for by the deeds of the law no man living can be rid of his burden.-Therefore Mr. Worldly Wiseman is an alien, and Mr. Legality a cheat ; and as for his son Civility, notwithstanding his simpering looks, he is but a hypocrite, and cannot help thee.
to regaio the Way to the Wicket-gate.
Believe me, there is nothing in all this noise that thou bast heard of these sottish men, but a design to beguile thee of thy salvation, by turning thee from the way in wbich I had set thee. After this, Evangelist called aloud to the heavens for confirmation of what he had said ; and with that there came words and fire out of the mountain under which poor Christian stood, that made the hair of his flesh stand up. The words were thus pronounced, “ As many as are of the works of the law are under the curse; for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them." (Gal. iji. 10.)
Now Christian looked for nothing but death, and began to cry out lamentably; even cursing the time in which he met with Mr. Worldly Wiseman; still calling himself a thousand fools for hearkening to his counsel. He also was greatly ashamed to think that this gentleman's arguments, flowing only from the flesh, should have the prevalency with him as to cause him to forsake the right way. This done, he applied himself again to Evangelist in words and sense as fol
Chr. Sir, what think you : Is there hope? May I now go back, and go up to the Wicket-gate? Shall I not be abandoned for this, and sent back from thence ashamed? I am sorry I have hearkened to this man's counsel ; but may my sin be forgiven?
Evax. Then said Evangelist to him, Thy sin is very great, for by it thou hast committed two evils ; thou hast forsaken the way that is good, to tread in forbidden paths. Yet will the man at the gate receive thee, for he has good will for men ; only, said he, take heed that thou turn not aside again, lest thou perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. (Ps. ii. last verse.) Then did Christian address him. self to go back; and Evangelist, after he had kissed
Christian retarde towards the Wicket-gato. hiin, gave him one smile, and bid him God speed'; so he went on with haste, neither spake he to any man by the way; nor if any asked him, would he vouchsafe them an answer. He went like one that was all the while
'The legal workings of Christian's mind in seeking after justification by a regard to the works of the law, are well described. Nothing but curses is to be heard from mount Sinai, and the awakened sinner is filled with terror and alarm while he is looking to the law as a covenant of works. Instead of removing his distress, it increases the load of his guilt, and alarms him with the prospect of future misery. The sinfulness of such sentiments and feelings is represented by Evangelist's frowning upon and reproving such an anti-evangelical state of heart. When a christian, who bas acted thus sinfully and foolishly, is brought to confess his sinfulness, and to lament the danger to which his conduct has exposed him, the gospel affords him necessary advice, and the greatest encouragement. Whenever christians look to the law for justification, they are doing that for which they will have occasion to repent; this is not the way which God has appointed, but it is the road to eternal death. The cross is an object for glory, and not for sharne. The christian, however, is at length convinced that he will never get relief till he obtains it by faith in Christ; and when he is resolved to look alone to the righteousness of Christ for parcon and life, then the gospel smiles upon him, and bids him “God speed." The want of a clear distinction between the law and the gospel is the cause of great distress to young converts and weak believers. To renounce the law in point of dependence; to consider it as having been fulfilled by the life and death of Christ; and to depend upon that righteousness which is thus wrought out, and imputed to them that believe, as the ground of our justification in the sight of God; and yet to observe it as the rule of christian obedience; are the ways of salvation pointed out by the gospel. I know of no exposition at once so elegant, compendious, and evangelical, as the 121st Hymn, 2nd Book, of Dr. Watts.
" The law commands, and makes us know
What curses doth the law denounce,
The laro discovers guilt and sin,
My soul, no more attempt to draw
treading on forbidden ground, and could by no means think himself safe, till again he was got into the way which he had left to follow Mr. Worldly Wise-man's counsel ; so in process of time, Christian got up to the gate. Now over the gate there was written, “ Knock, and it shall be opened unto you.” (Matt. vii. 7.)
He knocked therefore more than once or twice', saying,
« May I now enter here? Will he within
Not fail to sing his lasting praise on high."
Chr. Here is a poor burdened sinner. I come from the city of Destruction, but am going to Mount Zion, that I may be delivered from the wrath to come: I would therefore, Sir, since I am informed that by this gate is the way thither, know if you are willing to let me in.
Good. I am willing with all my heart, said he ; and with that he opened the gateb.
So when Christian was stepping in, the other gave him a pull. Then said Christian, “ What means that?" The other told him, “ A little distance from this gate, there is erected a strong castle, of which Beelzebub is the captain; and from thence both he and they that are with him, shoot arrows at those that come up to the gate, if haply they may die before
- Below the picture of Christian at the gate ;
“ He that would enter in, must first without
For God can love him, and forgive his sin."
they can enter in:" Then said Christian, “ I rejoice and tremble.” So when he was got in, the man of the gate asked him who directed him thither.
CHR. Evangelist bid me come hither and knock, as I did: and he said, that you, Sir, would tell me what I must do.
Good. An open door is before thee, and no man can shut it.
Chr. Now I begin to reap the benefits of my hazards.
Good. But how is it that you are come alone?
Chr. Because none of my neighbours saw their danger, as I saw mine.
Good. Did any of them know of your coming?
Chr. Yes, my wife and children saw me at first, and called after me to turn again : also some of my neighbours stood crying and calling after me to return; but I put my fingers in my ears, and so came on my way
Good. But did none of them follow you, to persuade you to go back?
Chr. Yes, both Obstinate 'and Pliable: but when they saw that they could not prevail, Obstinate went railing back, but Pliable came with me a little way.
Good. But why did he not come through?
Chr. Weindeed came both together until we came to the Slough of Despond, into the which we also suddenly fell. And then was my neighbour Pliable discouraged, and would not adventure farther. Wherefore getting out again on that side next to his own house, he told me I should possess the brave country alone for him: so he went his way, and I came inine; he after Obstinate, and I to this gate“.
c Satan envies those that enter the strait gate.
• A man may have company when he sets out for heaven, ana ye! go thither alone.