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Come and Welcome to Jesus Christ
by John Bunyan
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Eleventh. There can be but one covenant by which men must be saved; but that shall never be the covenant of the law, for the weakness and unprofitableness thereof; therefore men must be saved by the covenant of grace, by which God will be merciful to our unrighteousnesses, and our sins and iniquities will remember no more (Heb 8:6-13).

POSTSCRIPT.

A few words by way of use, and so I shall conclude.

THE FIRST USE.

First. Is the salvation of the sinner by the grace of God? Then here you see the reason why God hath not respect to the personal virtues of men in the bringing of them to glory. Did I say, personal virtues? How can they have any to Godward that are enemies to him in their minds by wicked works? Indeed, men one to another seem to be, some better, some worse, by nature, but to God they are all alike, dead in trespasses and sins. 20

We will, therefore, state it again—Are men saved by grace? Then here you may see the reason why conversion runs at that rate among the sons of men, that none are converted for their good deeds, nor rejected for their bad, but even so many of both, and only so many, are brought home to God as grace is pleased to bring home to him.

1. None are received for their good deeds; for then they would not be saved by grace, but by works. Works and grace, as I have showed, are in this matter opposite each to other; if he be saved by works, then not by grace; if by grace, then not by works (Rom 11). That none are received of God for their good deeds is evident, not only because he declares his abhorrence of the supposition of such a thing, but hath also rejected the persons that have at any time attempted to present themselves to God in their own good deeds for justification. This I have showed you before.

2. Men are not rejected for their bad deeds. This is evident by Manasseh, by the murderers of our Lord Jesus Christ, by the men that you read of in the nineteenth of the Acts, with many others, whose sins were of as deep a dye as the sins of the worst of men (2 Chron 33:2,13; Acts 2:23,41; 19:19).

Grace respecteth, in the salvation of a sinner, chiefly the purpose of God; wherefore those that it findeth under that purpose, those it justifies freely, through the redemption that is in Jesus Christ. At Saul's conversion, Ananias of Damascus brought in a most dreadful charge against him to the Lord Jesus Christ, saying, "Lord, I have heard by many of this man, how much evil he hath done to thy saints at Jerusalem; and here he hath authority from the chief priests to bind all that call on thy name." But what said the Lord unto him? "Go thy way, for he is a chosen vessel unto me" (Acts 9:13-15). This man's cruelty and outrage must not hinder his conversion, because he was a chosen vessel. Men's good deeds are no argument with God to convert them; men's bad deeds are no argument with him to reject them. I mean, those that come to Christ, by the drawings of the Father; besides, Christ also saith, "I will in no wise cast" such "out." (John 6:37-44).

Second. Is the salvation of the sinner by the grace of God? Then here you see the reason why some sinners, that were wonderfully averse to conversion by nature, are yet made to stoop to the God of their salvation. Grace takes them to do, because grace hath designed them to this very thing. Hence some of the Gentiles were taken from among the rest; God granted them repentance unto life, because he had taken them from among the rest, both by election and calling, for his name (Acts 11:18; 15:14). These men that were not a people, are thus become the people of God; these men that were not beloved for their works, were yet beloved by the grace of God. "I will call them my people which were not my people; and her beloved which was not beloved." But their minds are averse. But are they the people on whom God doth magnify the riches of his grace? Why, then, they shall be, in the day of his power, made willing, and be able to believe through grace (Psa 110:3; Rom 9:25; Acts 18:27). But doth the guilt and burden of sin so keep them down that they can by no means lift up themselves? Why, God will, by the exceeding greatness of that power by which he raised Christ from the dead, work in their souls also by the Spirit of grace, to cause them to believe and to walk in his ways (Eph 1:18-20).

Paul tells us, in that epistle of his to the Corinthians, that it was by grace he was what he was—"By the grace of God I am what I am," says he, "and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain" (1 Cor 15:10). This man kept always in his mind a warm remembrance of what he was formerly by nature, and also how he had added to his vileness by practice; yea, moreover, he truly concluded in his own soul, that had not God, by unspeakable grace, put a stop to his wicked proceedings, he had perished in his wickedness; hence he lays his call and conversion at the door of the grace of God—"When it pleased God," says he, "who separated me from my mother's womb, and called me by his grace, to reveal his Son in me" (Gal 1:15,16). and hence it is, again, that he saith, "He obtained grace and apostleship"; grace to convert his soul, and the gifts and authority of an apostle, to preach the gospel of the grace of God.

This blessed man ascribes all to the grace of God. 1. His call he ascribes to the grace of God. 2. His apostleship he ascribes to the grace of God. 3. And all his labour in that charge he also ascribes to the grace of God.

This grace of God it was that which saved from the beginning. 1. Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord, and was therefore converted and preserved from the flood (Gen 6:8). 2. Abraham found grace in the sight of the Lord, and therefore he was called out of his country (Gen 12:1,2). 3. Moses found grace in the eyes of the Lord, and therefore he must not be blotted out of God's book (Exo 33:12,17).

Neither may it be imagined that these men were, before grace laid hold on them, better than other men; for then they would not have been saved by grace; grace should not have had the dominion and glory of their salvation. But, as Paul says of himself, and of those that were saved by grace in his day, "What then? are we better than they? No, in no wise; for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles that they are all under sin" (Rom 3:9). So it may be said of these blessed ones; for indeed this conclusion is general, and reacheth all the children of men, Christ Jesus alone only excepted. But,

Third. Is the salvation of the sinner by the grace of God? Then here you may see the reason why one backslider is recovered, and another left to perish in his backsliding.

There was grace for Lot, but none for his wife; therefore she was left in her transgression, but Lot was saved notwithstanding. There was grace for Jacob, but none for Esau; therefore Esau was left in his backsliding, but Jacob found mercy notwithstanding. There was grace for David, but none for Saul; therefore David obtained mercy, and Saul perished in his backsliding. There was grace for Peter, but none for Judas; therefore Judas is left to perish in his backsliding, and Peter is saved from his sin. That text stands good to none but those that are elect by grace—"Sin shall not have dominion over you; for ye are not under the law, but under grace" (Rom 6:14).

It will be said, repentance was found in one, but not in the other. Well, but who granted and gave the one repentance; The Lord turned, and looked upon Peter; he did not turn and look upon Judas; yea, the Lord told Peter before he fell that he should follow him to the kingdom of heaven, but told him that he should deny him first; but withal told him also he should not let his heart be troubled, that is, utterly dejected, for he would go and prepare a place for him, and come again and receive him to himself (John 13:36-38; 14:1-3). That is a blessed word of God, "The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord, and he delighteth in his way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down; for the Lord upholdeth him with his hand" (Psa 37:23,24).

THE SECOND USE.

My second use shall be to them that are dejected in their souls at the sight and sense of their sins.

First. Are they that are saved, saved by grace? Then they that would have their guilty consciences quieted, they must study the doctrine of grace.

It is Satan's great design either to keep the sinner senseless of his sins, or if God makes him sensible of them, then to hide and keep from his thoughts the sweet doctrine of the grace of God, by which alone the conscience getteth health and cure; "for everlasting consolation, and good hope" is given "through grace" (1 Thess 2:16). How then shall the conscience of the burdened sinner by rightly quieted, if he perceiveth not the grace of God?

Study, therefore, this doctrine of the grace of God. Suppose thou hast a disease upon thee which is not to be cured but by such or such medicines, the first step to thy cure is to know the medicines. I am sure this is true as to the case in hand; the first step to the cure of a wounded conscience is for thee to know the grace of God, especially the grace of God as to justification from the curse in his sight.

A man under a wounded conscience naturally leaneth to the works of the law, and thinks God must be pacified by something that he should do, whereas the Word says, "I will have mercy and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance" (Matt 9:13).

Wherefore thou must study the grace of God. "It is a good thing," saith the apostle, "that the heart be established with grace"; thereby insinuating that there is no establishment in the soul that is right but by the knowledge of the grace of God (Heb 13:9).

I said, that when a man is wounded in his conscience, he naturally leaneth to the works of the law; wherefore thou must therefore be so much the more heedful to study the grace of God; yea, so to study it as rightly, not only in notion, but in thy practices, to distinguish it from the law. "The law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ" (John 1:17). Study it, I say, so as to distinguish it, and that, not only from the law, but from all those things that men blasphemously call this grace of God.

There are many things which men call the grace of God, that are not.

1. The light and knowledge that are in every man. 2. That natural willingness that is in man to be saved. 3. That power that is in man by nature to do something, as he thinketh, towards his own salvation.

I name these three; there are also many other which some will have entitled the grace of God. But do thou remember that the grace of God is his goodwill and great love to sinners in his Son Jesus Christ; "by the which" good "will we are sanctified, through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all" (Heb 10:10).

Again; when thou hast smelt out this grace of God, and canst distinguish it from that which is not, then labour to strengthen thy soul with the blessed knowledge of it. "Thou therefore, my son," said Paul, "be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus" (2 Tim 2:1). Fortify thy judgment and understanding; but especially labour to get down all into thy conscience, that that may be "purged from dead works, to serve the living God."

[Second.] And to enforce this use upon thee yet further, consider, a man gets yet more advantage by the knowledge of, and by growing strong in, this grace of God.

1. It ministereth to him matter of joy; for he that knows this grace aright, he knows God is at peace with him, because he believeth in Jesus Christ, who by grace tasted death for every man; "by whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God" (Rom 5:2). And indeed what joy or what rejoicing is like rejoicing here? To rejoice in hope of the glory of God, it is to rejoice in hope to enjoy him for ever, with that eternal glory that is in him.

2. As it manifesteth matter of joy and rejoicing, so it causeth much fruitfulness in all holiness and godliness. "For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world" (Titus 2:11,12). Yea, it so naturally tendeth this way, that it can no sooner appear to the soul, but it causeth this blessed fruit in the heart and life. "We ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another. But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour appeared"—what then? Why then, he that believeth, being justified by his grace, and expecting to be an heir according to the hope of eternal life, is "careful to maintain good works" (Titus 3:3-8). See also that in Paul's epistle to the Colossians—"We give thanks," says he, "to God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you, since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus, and of the love which ye have to all the saints, for the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, whereof ye heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel; which is come unto you, as it is in all the world; and bringeth forth fruit, as it doth also in you, since the day ye heard of it, and knew the grace of God in truth" (Col 1:3-6).

3. The knowledge of, and strength that comes by, the grace of God is a sovereign antidote against all, and all manner of delusions that are or may come into the world. Wherefore Peter, exhorting the believers to take heed that they were not carried away with the errors of the wicked, and so fall from their own steadfastness, adds, as their only help, this exhortation—"But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ" (2 Peter 3:18).

(1.) Suppose it should be urged, that man's own righteousness saveth the sinner; why, then, we have this at hand—God "hath saved us, and called us, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ" &c. (2 Tim 1:9).

(2.) Suppose it should be urged, that by the doctrine of free grace we must not understand God's extending free forgiveness as far as we have or do sin; the answer is—"But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: that as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness," through the justice of God being satisfied by his Son, "unto eternal life" (Rom 5:20,21).

(3.) Suppose it should be urged, that this is a doctrine tending to looseness and lasciviousness; the answer is ready—"What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?" for the doctrine of free grace believed is the most sin-killing doctrine in the world (Rom 6:1,2).

(4.) Suppose men should attempt to burden the church of God with unnecessary ceremonies, and impose them, even as the false apostles21 urged circumcision of old, saying, Unless you do these things, ye cannot be saved; why, the answer is ready—"Why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the necks of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear? But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they" (Acts 15:1,10,11). But not to enlarge, 22

[Third.] This doctrine, "By grace ye are saved," it is the only remedy against despairing thoughts at the apprehension of our own unworthiness; as,

1. Thou criest out, O cursed man that I am! my sins will sink me into hell.

Answ. Hold, man; there is a God in heaven that is "the God of all grace" (1 Peter 5:10). Yet thou art not the man of all sin. If God be the God of all grace, then if all the sins in the world were thine, yet the God of all grace can pardon, or else it should seem that sin is stronger in a man penitent, to damn, than the grace of God can be to save.

2. But my sins are of the worst sort—blasphemy, adultery, covetousness, murder, &c.

Answ. "All manner of sins and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men, wherewithsoever they shall blaspheme.—Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon" (Matt 12:31; Mark 3:28; Isa 55:7,8).

3. But I have a stout and rebellious heart, a heart that is far from good.

Answ. "Hearken unto me," saith God, "ye stout-hearted, that are far from righteousness: I bring near my righteousness"; that is, the righteousness of Christ, by which stout-hearted sinners are justified, though ungodly (Isa 46:12,13; Phil 3:7,8; Rev 4:5).

4. But I have a heart as hard as any stone.

Answ. "A new heart also will I give you," says God, "and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh" (Eze 36:26).

5. But I am as blind as a beetle; I cannot understand anything of the gospel.

Answ. "I will bring the blind by a way that they know not; I will lead them in paths that they have not known: I will make darkness light before them, and crooked things straight. These things will I do unto them, and not forsake them" (Isa 42:16).

6. But my heart will not be affected with the sufferings and blood of Christ.

Answ. "I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the Spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his first-born" (Zech 12:10).

7. But though I see what is like to become of me if I find not Christ, yet my spirit, while I am thus, will be running after vanity, foolishness, uncleanness, wickedness.

Answ. "Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols will I cleanse you" (Eze 36:25).

8. But I cannot believe in Christ.

Answ. But God hath promised to make thee believe. "I will also leave in the midst of thee an afflicted and poor people, and they shall trust in the name of the Lord." And again, "There shall be a root of Jesse, and he that shall rise to reign over the Gentiles, in him shall the Gentiles trust" (Zeph 3:12; Rom 15:12).

9. But I cannot pray to God for mercy.

Answ. But God hath graciously promised a spirit of prayer—"Yea, many people and strong nations shall come to seek the Lord of hosts in Jerusalem, and to pray before the Lord.—They shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is my people; and they shall say, The Lord is my God" (Zech 8:22; 12:10; 13:9).

10. But I cannot repent. Answ. "The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged on a tree. Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins" (Acts 5:30,31).

Thus might I enlarge, for the holy Bible is full of this exceeding grace of God. O these words, "I will" and "you shall"! they are the language of a gracious God; they are promises by which our God has engaged himself to do that for poor sinners which would else be left undone for ever.

THE THIRD USE.

Are they that are saved, saved by grace? Then let Christians labour to advance God's grace. FIRST. In heart. SECOND. In life.

FIRST. In heart; and that in this manner—

First. Believe in God's mercy through Jesus Christ, and so advance the grace of God; I mean, venture heartily, venture confidently, for there is a sufficiency in the grace of God. Abraham magnified the grace of God when "he considered not his own body now dead,—neither yet the deadness of Sarah's womb: he staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God" (Rom 4:19,20).

Second. Advance it by heightening of it in thy thoughts. Have always good and great thoughts of the grace of God; narrow and slender thoughts of it are a great disparagement to it.

And to help thee in this matter, consider—1. This grace is compared to a sea—"And thou will cast all their sins into the depths of the sea" (Micah 7:19). Now a sea can never be filled by casting into it. 23

2. This grace is compared to a fountain, to an open fountain—"In that day there shall be a fountain opened to the house of David, and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, for sin and for uncleanness." Now a fountain can never be drawn dry (Zech 12:1). 3. The Psalmist cries out concerning the grace and mercy of God, "It endureth for ever"; he says so twenty-six times in one psalm. Surely he saw a great deal in it, surely he was taken a great deal with it (Psa 136). 4. Paul says the God of all grace can do more than "we ask or think" (Eph 3:20). 5. Therefore as God's Word says, so thou shouldst conclude of the grace of God.

Third. Come boldly to the throne of grace by hearty prayer; for this is the way also to magnify the grace of God. This is the apostle's exhortation, "Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need" (Heb 4:16). See here a little, and wonder.

We have been all this while discoursing of the grace of God; and now we are come to his throne, as Job says, "even to his seat"; and behold, "that is a throne of grace." O, when a God of grace is upon a throne of grace, and a poor sinner stands by and begs for grace, and that in the name of a gracious Christ, in and by the help of the Spirit of grace, can it be otherwise but such a sinner must obtain mercy and grace to help in time of need? But not to forget the exhortation, "Come boldly." Indeed, we are apt to forget this exhortation; we think, seeing we are such abominable sinners, we should not presume to come boldly to the throne of grace; but yet so we are bidden to do; and to break a commandment here is as bad as to break it in another place.

You may ask me, What is it to come boldly? [I] answer—

1. It is to come confidently—"Let us draw near with a true heart, in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water" (Heb 10:22).

2. To come boldly, it is to come frequently—"At morning, at noon, and at night, will I pray." We use to count them bold beggars that come often to our door.

3. To come boldly, it is to ask for great things when we come. That is the bold beggar that will not only ask, but also choose the thing that he asketh.

4. To come boldly, it is to ask for others as well as ourselves, to beg mercy and grace for all the saints of God under heaven as well as for ourselves—"Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit—for all saints" (Eph 6:18).

5. To come boldly, it is to come and take no nay; thus Jacob came to the throne of grace—"I will not let thee go except thou bless me" (Gen 32:26).

6. To come boldly, it is to plead God's promises with him both in a way of justice and mercy, and to take it for granted God will give us—because he hath said it—whatever we ask in the name of his Son.

Fourth. Labour to advance God's grace in thy heart, by often admiring, praising, and blessing God in secret for it; God expects it—"Whoso offereth praise glorifieth me," says he. "By Jesus Christ therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually; that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to his name" (Psa 50:23; Heb 13:15).

SECOND. [In life.] But again; as we should advance this grace in our hearts, so we should do it in our life. We should in our conversation adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things. It is a great word of the apostle, "Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ," which is the gospel of the grace of God (Phil 1:27). God expecteth that there should in our whole life be a blessed tang24 of the gospel, or that in our life among men there should be preached to them the grace of the gospel of God.

The gospel shows us that God did wonderfully stoop and condescend for our good; and to do accordingly, it is to stoop and condescend to others.

The gospel shows us that there was abundance of pity, love, bowels, and compassion in God towards us; and accordingly we should be full of bowels, pity, love, and compassion to others.

The gospel shows us that in God there is a great deal of willingness to do good to others.

The gospel shows us that God acteth towards us according to his truth and faithfulness, and so should we be in all our actions one to another.

By the gospel, God declares that he forgiveth us ten thousand talents, and we ought likewise to forgive our brother the hundred pence.

And now, before I conclude this use, let me give you a few heart-endearing considerations to this so good and so happy a work.

[Heart-endearing Considerations.]

First. Consider, God hath saved thee by his grace. Christian, God hath saved thee, thou hast escaped the lion's mouth, thou art delivered from wrath to come; advance the grace that saves thee, in thy heart and life.

Second. Consider, God left millions in their sins that day he saved thee by his grace; he left millions out, and pitched upon thee; it may be hundreds also, yea, thousands, were in the day of thy conversion lying before him under the preaching of the word as thou wert, yet he took thee. 25 Considerations of this nature affected David much; and God would have them affect thee, to the advancing of his grace in thy life and conversation (Psa 78:67-72; Deu 7:7).

Third. Consider, perhaps the most part of those that God refused that day that he called thee by his grace were, as to conversation, far better than ever thou wert—I was a blasphemer, I was a persecutor, I was an injurious person, but I obtained mercy! O this should affect thy heart, this should engage thy heart to study to advance this grace of God (1 Tim 1:14,15).

Fourth. Perhaps in the day of thy conversion thou wast more unruly than many. Like a bullock unaccustomed to the yoke, hardly tamed, thou wast brought home by strong hands; thou wouldst not drive, the Lord Jesus must take thee up, lay thee upon his shoulder, and carry thee home to his Father's house. This should engage thy heart to study to advance the grace of God (Luke 15:1-6).

Fifth. It may be many did take even offence at God in his converting and saving of thee by his grace, even as the elder son was offended with his father for killing the fatted calf for his brother, and yet that did not hinder the grace of God, nor make God abate his love to thy soul. This should make thee study to advance the grace of God in thy heart and life (Luke 15:21-32).

Sixth. Consider again, that God hath allowed thee but a little time for this good work, even the few days that thou hast now to live—I mean, for this good work among sinful men, and then thou shalt go to receive that wages that grace also will give thee for thy work to thy eternal joy.

Seventh. Let this also have some place upon thy heart—every man shows subjection to the god that he serveth; yea, though that god be none other but the devil and his lusts; and wilt not thou, O man! saved of the Lord, be much more subject "to the Father of spirits, and live"?26

Alas! they are pursuing their own damnation, yet they sport it, and dance all the way they go. They serve that "god" (Satan) with cheerfulness and delight, who at last will plunge them into the everlasting gulf of death, and torment them in the fiery flames of hell; but thy God is the God of salvation, and to God thy Lord belong the issues from death. Wilt not thou serve him with joyfulness in the enjoyment of all good things, even him by whom thou art to be made blessed for ever?

Object. This is that which kills me—honour God I cannot; my heart is so wretched, so spiritless, and desperately wicked, I cannot.

Answ. What dost thou mean by cannot? 1. If thou meanest thou hast no strength to do it, thou hast said an untruth, for "greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world" (1 John 4:4). 2. If thou meanest thou hast no will, then thou art out also; for every Christian, in his right mind, is a willing man, and the day of God's power hath made him so (Psa 110:3). 3. If thou meanest that thou wantest wisdom, that is thine own fault—"If any man lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not" (James 1:5).

Object. I cannot do things as I would.

Answ. No more could the best of the saints of old—"To will is present with me," said Paul; "but how to perform that which is good I find not." And again, "The flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other, so that ye cannot do the things that ye would" (Rom 7:18; Gal 5:17).

And here indeed lies a great discovery of this truth, "ye are saved by grace"; for the children of God whilst here, notwithstanding their conversion to God, and salvation by Christ through grace, are so infirm and weak by reason of a body of death that yet remaineth in them, that should even the sin that is in the best of their performances be laid to their charge, according to the tenor of a covenant of works, they would find it impossible ever to get into glory. But why do I talk thus? It is impossible that those that are saved by grace should have their infirmities laid to their charge as afore, "for they are not under the law"; they are included by the grace of God in the death and blood of the Son of God, who ever liveth to make intercession for them at the right hand of God; whose intercession is so prevalent with the Father as to take away the iniquity of our holy things from his sight, and to present us holy, and unreprovable, and unblamable in his sight. To him, by Christ Jesus, through the help of the blessed Spirit of grace, be given praise, and thanks, and glory, and dominion, by all his saints, now and for ever. Amen.

FOOTNOTES:

1 General course of manners, behaviour, deportment, especially as it regards morals (see Phil 1:27, 1 Peter 1:15).

2 Their conduct proved to the living that they were dead, they themselves having no feeling or sense of spiritual life; but, when quickened, their penitence and good works were brought into existence by Divine power; they feel the joys of salvation, but feel also their total unworthiness of this new creating power, and sing, "O to grace how great a debtor!"—Ed.

3 The hospital of St. Mary Bethlem, vulgarly called "Bedlam," bestowed, in 1545, upon the citizens of London, who appropriated it to the reception of lunatics. It being the only public hospital for that class of the afflicted in England, it gave the name of "bedlam" to all whose conduct could only be accounted for on the score of madness.—Ed.

4 The person who writes this, was a singular instance of the truth of our author's remark; having been twice providentially preserved from drowning, and once from the fatal effects of a violent fever, before effectual saving grace had reached his soul. The same rich and abundant mercy follows all the elect, quickens them when dead, saves them when lost, and restores them when ruined. God hath chosen us unto salvation, and enables us to live holily on earth, in order to a life of happiness in heaven. The Father's good will and pleasure is the only fountain from whence the salvation of believers flows; and such as are given to Christ by the Father he considers as his charge, and stands engaged for their preservation; and the death of Christ for sinners, is an evident demonstration of the love of God the Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ, towards them; this love manifested in time was in and upon the heart of God before the world began.—Mason. What a multitude of unseen dangers, both spiritual and temporal, the Christian escapes before he is called!—Ed.

5 "Rarely," finely, nicely.

6 A safe-conduct is a military term, either a convoy or guard for protection in an enemy's land, or a passport, by the sovereign of a country, to enable a subject to travel with safety.—Imperial Dict.—Ed.

7 What amazing love! Christ visited this poor beggar, yea, was formed in him the hope of glory; his body, so miserable in the sight of man, was a temple of the Holy Ghost, and the angels carry his soul to heaven. O the riches of grace!—Ed.

8 What heart can conceive the glorious worship of heaven? The new song shall be as the voice of many waters, and a great thunder, when the "ten thousand times ten thousand and thousand of thousands" shall sing, "Worthy is the Lamb that was slain, to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and blessing." O that my poor voice may join that celestial choir!—Ed.

9 The fear of the Lord—an ornament of grace unto thy head, and chains about thy neck, and life unto thy soul.—Solomon.

10 "Their appearance and themselves"; this beautiful illustration might escape the reader's notice, unless specially directed to it. The living creatures were always the same, although seen under different circumstances, and in diverse places. Inside and out they were the same; without deviation or turning, they went straight forward. It is well said that Bunyan has here snatched a grace beyond the reach of art, and has applied it to exalt and beautify consistency of Christian character.—Ed.

11 This is one of Bunyan's peculiarly affecting representations, which in preaching went to the heart, producing intense interest, and tears of contrition over the stubbornness of human nature. Reader, Bunyan, being dead, yet speaketh; can you feel unaffected under such an appeal?—Ed.

12 "To stave," to thrust, to push, to delay.—Ed.

13 These terms are taken from Foxe's Martyrology. It was frequently the brutal remark of the Judges, You must turn or burn. Bunyan here applies it to turning from sin or burning in hell.—Ed.

14 This treatise having been written some years after the Pilgrim's Progress, Bunyan very naturally refers to the well-known scene in the Interpreter's House, where the fire is kept burning by oil from behind the wall, in spite of all the water thrown upon its flames.—Ed.

15 "To tend," to watch, to guard, to attend.—Ed.

16 How pointedly, how admirably, does this illustrate the fond absurdities, the extreme follies of the human heart! "To serve God with such dainty dishes," the cleanest being befouled with sin. "A cleaner way to hell than our neighbours!"—Ed.

17 O how humbling a consideration! Our sins are numberless, of omission, of commission, openly and secretly; nay, in a thousand cases they escape the sinner's observation. "Cleanse thou me from secret faults."—Ed.

18 "Shuck," to shake or start back.—Ed.

19 In Bunyan's time, the saints of God were sorely tormented by penalties, fines, and imprisonments. It required great faith in a mother, who saw all her goods seized, for not going to church, the incarnate devils throwing the milk that was warming for her infant on the dunghill, and the skillet in which it was contained into the cart, answering her prayers for mercy on her babe. Let the brat of a heretic starve.—Ed.

20 How abasing and humbling to human pride is it thus to conceive, that all have sinned, and, in the sight of God, are hell-deserving. What! says the honourable man, must I take mercy upon no higher consideration than the thief on the cross? Or the highly virtuous dame, Must I sue for mercy upon the same terms as the Magdalene? The faithful answer to both is, YES, or you must perish.—Ed.

21 "False apostles," mentioned in Acts 15, who would have blended Jewish observances with Christianity, and have brought the converts into misery and thraldom. They are specially referred to in 2 Corinthians 11:13, "false apostles," deceitful workers, that devour you and take from you (verse 20). In contradistinction to Paul, who was "chargeable to no man" (verse 9).—Ed.

22 We must not for a moment imagine that Bunyan was afraid of temporal consequences, which prevents his enlarging upon this part of his subject. His contemptuous answer to Fowler for attacking the doctrine of justification, although a great man with the state, and soon afterwards made a bishop, is a proof that he was a stranger to the fear of man. He had said enough, and therefore there was no need to enlarge.—Ed.

23 How does Bunyan here exhibit the perfection as well as the freeness of the pardon that Micah celebrates! That which is sunk in the depths of the sea is lost for ever.—Ed.

24 "Tang," taste, touch, savour, flavour, relish, tone, sound. A word of extensive meaning, but now nearly obsolete. "No tang of prepossession or fancy appears in the morality of our Saviour or his apostles."—Locke.—Ed.

25 What can I render unto thee, my God, for such unspeakable blessedness? The cattle upon a thousand hills, yea, all creation, all that I have and am, is thine: all that I can do is "to take the cup of salvation and call upon the name of the Lord." Not unto us, but unto thy name, be all the praise and honour of salvation!—Ed.

26 In the edition of 1692, this sentence is "subject to the Father of spirits and love." It is a very singular mode of expression to call God "the Father of love." God is love, and that author and source of all holy love. Bunyan was at all times governed by Scripture phrases, with which his mind was so richly imbued as to cause him, if we may so speak, to live in a scriptural atmosphere; and this sentence bears a great affinity to Hebrews 12:9, "Shall we not much rather be in subjection to the Father of spirits, and live." I have been, for these reasons, induced to consider the letter o in "love" a typographical error, and have altered the word to "live," but could not take such a liberty without a public notice.—Ed.

***

THE STRAIT GATE;

OR,

GREAT DIFFICULTY OF GOING TO HEAVEN:

PLAINLY PROVING, BY THE SCRIPTURES, THAT NOT ONLY THE RUDE AND PROFANE, BUT MANY GREAT PROFESSORS, WILL COME SHORT OF THAT KINGDOM.

"Enter ye in at the strait gate; for wide is the gate, and broad is the way that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it."—Matthew 7:13, 14

ADVERTISEMENT BY THE EDITOR.

If any uninspired writer has been entitled to the name of Boanerges, or a son of thunder, it is the author of the following treatise. Here we have a most searching and faithful display of the straitness or exact dimensions of that all-important gate, which will not suffer many professors to pass into the kingdom of heaven, encumbered as they are with fatal errors. Still "it is no little pinching wicket, but wide enough for all the truly gracious and sincere lovers of Jesus Christ; while it is so strait, that no others can by any means enter in." This is a subject calculated to rouse and stimulate all genuine professors to solemn inquiry; and it was peculiarly intended to dart at, and fix convictions upon, the multitudes of hypocritical professors who abounded in Bunyan's time, especially under the reigns of the later Stuarts.

During the Protectorate, wickedness was discountenanced, and skulked in the holes and corners of Mansoul; but when a debauched monarch, who had taken refuge in the most licentious court in Europe, was called to occupy the throne of his fathers, the most abandoned profligacy and profaneness were let loose upon the nation. Vice was openly patronized, while virtue and religion were as openly treated with mockery and contempt. Bunyan justly says, "The text calls for sharpness, so do the times." "With those whose religion lieth in some circumstantials, the kingdom swarms at this day." When they stand at the gate, they will "shake like a quagmire—their feigned faith, pretended love, shows of gravity, and holiday words, will stand them in little stead; some professors do with religion just as people do with their best apparel—hang it on the wall all the week, and put it on on Sundays; they save it till they go to a meeting, or meet with a godly chapman." This state of society called for peculiar sharpness, and Bunyan preached and published, in 1676, this awful alarm to professors. No subject could be more peculiarly applicable than "The Gate of heaven," and "the difficulties of entering in thereat"; a subject of the deepest interest to all mankind—to stimulate the careless to find, and to enter the gate of this the only city of refuge from eternal misery—to fill the heart of God's children with love and joy in their prospects of a blessed immortality—and to sting the hypocrites with the awful thought of finding the gate shut against them for ever. Their cries and tears will be too late; they will stand without and vehemently cry, "Lord, Lord, open unto us"; in vain will be their outcry, "the devils are coming; Lord, Lord, the pit opens her mouth upon us; Lord, Lord, there is nothing but hell and damnation left us, if thou hast not mercy upon us." These were professors who pretended to have found the gate and way to heaven; who passed for pilgrims who were seeking a better, even a heavenly country; such deluded victims must be, of all men, the most miserable.

Faithfulness becomes the ministers of Christ in dealing with the souls of men; and pre-eminently faithful is John Bunyan in this treatise. Reader, he will be clear of thy blood. Enter upon the solemn inquiry, Have I sought the gate? Shall I be admitted into, or shut out from, that blessed kingdom? The openly profane can have no hope. Are you a professor?—there is danger sill. In vain will it be to urge, "We have prophesied in thy name, and in thy name cast out devils." To the secretly profane, whatever may be their profession, there can be no well-grounded hope of entrance in at this gate. Those only will be admitted whom the Lord knows to be his—the sheep of his pasture, who have heard his voice, and obeyed it. Against all others the door will be shut, and the awful words, "I know you not—depart, ye cursed," will hurry them to eternal darkness. The question, "Are there few that be saved?" will suggest itself to our minds; may the answer fix upon our conscience, "STRIVE to enter in." It is very probable that it was in preaching upon this text, Bunyan was assailed with a want of charity. The anecdote is thus narrated by Mr. Doe in The Struggler:—"As Mr. Bunyan was preaching in a barn, and showing the fewness of those that should be saved, there stood one of the learned to take advantage of his words; and having done preaching, the schoolman said to him, You are a deceiver, a person of no charity, and therefore not fit to preach; for he that [in effect] condemneth the greatest part of his hearers hath no charity, and therefore is not fit to preach. Then Mr. Bunyan answered, The Lord Jesus Christ preached in a ship to his hearers on the shore (Mat 13), and showed that they were as four sorts of ground, the highway, the stony, the thorny, and the good ground, but those represented by the good ground were the only persons to be saved. And your position is, That he that in effect condemneth the greatest part of his hearers, hath no charity, and therefore is not fit to preach the gospel. But here the Lord Jesus Christ did so, then your conclusion is, The Lord Jesus Christ wanted charity, and therefore was not fit to preach the gospel. Horrid blasphemy; away with your hellish logic, and speak Scripture." Of one thing we are certain, that while hollow-hearted hypocritical professors will ever complain of faithful dealing with their soul's eternal interests; the sincere and humble Christina will be most thankful for searching inquiries, that, if wrong, he may be set right before his final destiny is irrevocably fixed. May our souls submit to a scriptural measurement of this gate, and the terms upon which alone it can be opened unto us.

The difficulties that prevent "the many" from entering in are, 1. Forgetfulness that we can only enter heaven by the permission of the law—every jot and tittle must be fulfilled. Now, if we could live from our conversion to our death in the holiest obedience to all its precepts, yet, having previously violated them, the stain must not only be washed away in the blood of atonement, but we, as part of the body of Christ, must, in him, render perfect obedience. 2. In addition to the disinclination of our hearts to submit to this perfect righteousness, we have outward storms of temptation and persecution. "The world will seek to keep thee out of heaven with mocks, flouts, taunts, threats, jails, gibbets, halters, burnings, and a thousand deaths; therefore strive! Again, if it cannot overcome thee with these, it will flatter, promise, allure, entice, entreat, and use a thousand tricks on this hand to destroy thee; and many that have been stout against the threats of the world have yet been overcome with the bewitching flatteries of the same. O that we may by grace escape all these enemies, and so strive as to enter into the joy of our Lord."

GEO. OFFOR.

TO THE READER.

COURTEOUS READER,

God, I hope, hath put it into my heart to write unto thee another time, and that about matters of greatest moment—for now we discourse not about things controverted among the godly, but directly about the saving or damning of the soul; yea, moreover, this discourse is about the fewness of them that shall be saved, and it proves that many a high professor will come short of eternal life; wherefore the matter must needs be sharp, and so disliked by some, but let it not be rejected by thee. The text calls for sharpness, so do the times, yea, the faithful discharge of my duty towards thee hath put me upon it.

I do not now pipe, but mourn; and it will be well for thee if thou canst graciously lament. (Matt 11:17) Some, say they, make the gate of heaven too wide, and some make it too narrow; for my part, I have here presented thee with as true a measure of it as by the Word of God I can. Read me, therefore, yea, read me, and compare me with the Bible; and if thou findest my doctrine and that book of God concur, embrace it, as thou wilt answer the contrary in the day of judgment. This awakening work—if God will make it so—was prepared for thee: if there be need, and it wounds, get healing by blood: if it disquiets, get peace by blood: if it takes away all thou hast, because it was naught (for this book is not prepared to take away true grace from any), then buy of Christ "gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich, and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear, and anoint thine eyes with eye-salve, that thou mayest see." (Rev 3:18) Self-flatteries, self-deceivings, are easy and pleasant, but damnable. The Lord give thee a heart to judge right of thyself, right of this book, and so to prepare for eternity, that thou mayest not only expect entrance, but be received into the kingdom of Christ and of God. Amen.

So prays thy Friend,

JOHN BUNYAN.

THE STRAIT GATE.

"STRIVE TO ENTER IN AT THE STRAIT GATE; FOR MANY, I SAY UNTO YOU, WILL SEEK TO ENTER IN, AND SHALL NOT BE ABLE."—LUKE 13:24

These are the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and are, therefore, in especial manner to be heeded; besides, the subject matter of the words is the most weighty, to wit, how we should attain salvation, and therefore also to be heeded.

The occasion of the words was a question which one that was at this time in the company of the disciples put to Jesus Christ; the question was this, "Lord, are there few that be saved?" (verse 23) A serious question, not such as tended to the subversion of the hearers, as too many now-a-days do; but such as in its own nature tended to the awakening of the company to good, and that called for such an answer that might profit the people also. This question also well pleased Jesus Christ, and he prepareth and giveth such an answer as was without the least retort, or show of distaste; such an answer, I say, as carried in it the most full resolve to the question itself, and help to the persons questioning. "And he said unto them, Strive to enter in," &c. The words are an answer, and an instruction also. First. An answer, and that in the affirmative; the gate is strait—many that seek will not be able, therefore but few shall be saved. Second. The answer is an instruction also; "strive to enter in," &c., good counsel and instruction; pray God help me, and my reader, and all that love their own salvation, to take it.

My manner of handling the words will be—[FIRST], By way of explication; and then [SECOND], By way of observation.

[FIRST. THE WORDS BY WAY OF EXPLICATION.]

The words are to be considered, [FIRST], with reference to their general scope; and then [SECOND], with reference to their several phrases.

FIRST. The general scope of the text is to be considered, and that is that great thing—salvation; for these words do immediately look at, point to, and give directions about salvation: "Are there few that be saved? Strive to enter in at the strait gate."

The words, I say, are to direct us not only to talk of, or to wish for, but to understand how we shall, and to seek that we may be, effectually saved, and therefore of the greatest importance. To be saved! what is like being saved? To be saved from sin, from hell, from the wrath of God, from eternal damnation, what is like it? To be made an heir of God, of his grace, of his kingdom, and eternal glory, what is like it? and yet all this is included in this word saved, and in the answer to that question, "Are there few that be saved?" Indeed this word SAVED is but of little use in the world, save to them that are heartily afraid of damning. This word lies in the Bible as excellent salves lie in some men's houses, thrust into a hole, and not thought on for many months, because the household people have no wounds nor sores. In time of sickness, what so set by as the doctor's glasses and gally-pots full of his excellent things? but when the person is grown well, the rest is thrown to the dunghill. 1

O when men are sick of sin, and afraid of damning, what a text is that where this word saved is found! Yea, what a word of worth, and goodness, and blessedness, is it to him that lies continually upon the wrath of a guilty conscience? "But the whole need not a physician"; he therefore, and he only, knows what saved means, that knows what hell, and death, and damnation means. "What shall I do to be saved?" is the language of the trembling sinner. "Lord save me," is the language of the sinking sinner; and none admire the glory that is in that word saved, but such as see, without being saved, all things in heaven and earth are emptiness to them. They also that believe themselves privileged in all the blessedness that is wrapt up in that word, bless and admire God that hath saved them. Wherefore, since the thing intended, both in the question and the answer, is no less than the salvation of the soul, I beseech you to give the more earnest heed. (Heb 12) But,

SECOND. To come to the particular phrases in the words, and to handle them orderly, in the words I find four things. First. An intimation of the kingdom of heaven. Second. A description of the entrance into it. Third. An exhortation to enter into it. And, Fourth, A motive to enforce that exhortation.

[AN INTIMATION OF THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN.]

First. An intimation of the kingdom of heaven; for when he saith, "Strive to enter in," and in such phrases, there is supposed a place or state, or both, to be enjoyed. "Enter in"; enter into what, or whither, but into a state or place, or both? and therefore when you read this word, "enter in," you must say there is certainly included in the text that good thing that yet is not expressed. "Enter in"; into heaven, that is the meaning, where the saved are, and shall be; into heaven, that place, that glorious place, where God, and Christ, and angels are, and the souls or spirits of just men made perfect. "Enter in"; that thing included, though not expressed in the words, is called in another place, the Mount Zion, the heavenly Jerusalem, the general assembly and church of the first-born which are written in heaven. (Heb 12:23) And therefore the words signify unto us, that there is a state most glorious, and that when this world is ended; and that this place and state are likewise to be enjoyed, and inherited by a generation of men for ever. Besides, this word, "enter in," signifieth that salvation to the full is to be enjoyed only there, and that there only is eternal safety; all other places and conditions are hazardous, dangerous, full of snares, imperfections, temptations, and afflictions, but there all is well; there is no devil to tempt, no desperately wicked heart to deliver us up, no deceitful lust to entangle, nor any enchanting world to bewitch us. There all shall be well to all eternity. Further, all the parts of, and circumstances that attend salvation, are only there to be enjoyed; there only is immortality and eternal life; there is the glory and fulness of joy, and the everlasting pleasures; there is God and Christ to be enjoyed by open vision, and more; there are the angels and the saints; further, there is no death, nor sickness, no sorrow nor sighing for ever; there is no pain, nor persecutor, nor darkness, to eclipse our glory. O this Mount Zion! O this heavenly Jerusalem! (2 Cor 5:1-4, Psa 16:11, Luke 20:35,36, Heb 12:22-24)

Behold, therefore, what a great thing the Lord Jesus hath included by this little word, "IN." In this word is wrapt up a whole heaven and eternal life; even as there is also by other little words in the holy Scriptures of truth: as where he saith, "Knock, and it shall be opened unto you," and "the election hath obtained it." This should teach us, not only to read, but to attend in reading; not only to read, but to lift up our hearts to God in reading; for if we be not heedful, if he gives us not light and understanding, we may easily pass over, without any great regard, such a word as may have a glorious kingdom and eternal salvation in the bowels of it; yea, sometimes, as here, a whole heaven is intimated, where it is not at all expressed. The apostles of old did use to fetch great things out of the Scriptures, even out of the very order and timing of the several things contained therein. See Romans 4:9-11, Galatians 3:16,17, Hebrews 8:13. But,

[DESCRIPTION OF THE ENTRANCE INTO THIS KINGDOM.]

Second. As we have here an intimation of the kingdom of heaven, so we have a description of the entrance into it, and that by a double similitude: I. It is called a gate; II. A strait gate—"Strive to enter in at the strait gate."

[It is called a gate.]

I. It is set forth by the similitude of a gate. A gate, you know, is of a double use. It is to open and shut, and so, consequently, to let in or to keep out; and to do both these at the season; as he said, "Let not the gates of Jerusalem be opened until the sun be hot"; and again, "I commanded that the gates should be shut, and charged that they should not be opened till after the Sabbath." (Neh 7:3, 13:19,20) And so you find of this gate of heaven, when the five wise virgins came, the gate was opened; but afterwards came the other virgins, and the door was shut. (Matt 25) So then, the entrance into heaven is called a gate, to show there is a time when there may be entrance, and there will come a time when there shall be none; and, indeed, this is a chief truth contained in the text—"Strive to enter in at the strait gate; for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able." I read in the Scriptures of two gates or doors, through which they that go to heaven must enter. 2

1. There is the door of faith, the door which the grace of God hath opened to the Gentiles. This door is Jesus Christ, as also himself doth testify, saying, "I am the door," &c. (John 10:9, Acts 14:27) By this door men enter into God's favour and mercy, and find forgiveness through faith in his blood, and live in hope of eternal life; and therefore himself also hath said, "I am the door; by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved"; that is, received to mercy, and inherit eternal life. But,

2. There is another door or gate—for that which is called in the text a gate, is twice in the next verse called a door—there is, I say, another gate, and that is the passage into the very heaven itself; the entrance into the celestial mansion-house, and that is the gate mentioned in the text, 3 and the door mentioned twice in the verse that follows. And this Jacob called it, when he said, Bethel was the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven; that is, the entrance, for he saw the entrance into heaven. One end of Jacob's ladder stands in Bethel, God's house, and the other end reacheth up to the gate of heaven. (Gen 28:10-17) Jacob's ladder was the figure of Christ, which ladder was not the gate of heaven, but the way from the church to that gate which he saw above at the top of the ladder. (Gen 28:12, John 1:51) But again, that the gate in the text is the gate or entrance into heaven, consider—

(1.) It is that gate that letteth men into, or shutteth men out of that place or kingdom where Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob is, which place is that paradise where Christ promised the thief that he should be that day, that he asked to be with him in his kingdom; it is that place into which Paul said he was caught, when he heard words unlawful or impossible for a man to utter. (Luke 13:28, 23:42, 2 Cor 12:1-6)

Quest. But is not Christ the gate or entrance into this heavenly place?

Answ. He is he without whom no man can get thither, because by his merits men obtain that world, and also because he, as the Father, is the donor and disposer of that kingdom to whom he will. Further, this place is called his house, and himself the Master of it—"When once the Master of the house is risen up, and hath shut to the door." (Luke 13:25) But we use to say, that the master of the house is not the door. Men enter into heaven, then, by him, not as he is the gate, or door, or entrance, into the celestial mansion-house, but as he is the giver and disposer of that kingdom to them whom he shall count worthy, because he hath obtained it for them.

(2.) That this gate is the very passage into heaven, consider the text hath special reference to the day of judgment, when Christ will have laid aside his mediatory office, which before he exercised for the bringing to the faith his own elect; and will then act, not as one that justifieth the ungodly, but as one that judgeth sinners. He will now be risen up from the throne of grace, and shut up the door against all the impenitent, and will be set upon the throne of judgment, from thence to proceed with ungodly sinners.

Object. But Christ bids strive: "Strive" now "to enter in at the strait gate"; but if that gate be as you say, the gate or entrance into heaven, then it should seem that we should not strive till the day of judgment, for we shall not come at that gate till then.

Answ. Christ, by this exhortation, Strive, &c., doth not at all admit of, or countenance delays, or that a man should neglect his own salvation; but putteth poor creatures upon preparing for the judgment, and counselleth them now to get those things that will then give them entrance into glory. This exhortation is much like these: "Therefore be ye also ready, for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.—And they that were ready went in with him to the marriage, and the door was shut." (Matt 24:44, 25:10)

So that when he saith, "Strive to enter in," it is as if he should say, Blessed are they that shall be admitted another day to enter into the kingdom of heaven; but they that shall be counted worthy of so unspeakable a favour, must be well prepared and fitted for it beforehand. Now, the time to be fitted is not the day of judgment, but the day of grace; not then, but now. Therefore, strive now for those things that will then give you entrance into the heavenly kingdom. But,

[It is called a strait gate.]

II. As it is called a gate, so it is called a strait gate—"Strive to enter in at the strait gate."

The straitness of this gate is not to be understood carnally, but mystically. You are not to understand it, as if the entrance into heaven was some little pinching wicket; no, the straitness of this gate is quite another thing. This gate is wide enough for all them that are the truly gracious and sincere lovers of Jesus Christ, but so strait, as that not one of the other can by any means enter in: "Open to me the gates of righteousness: I will go into them, and I will praise the Lord: this gate of the Lord, into which the righteous shall enter." (Psa 118:19,20) By this word, therefore, Christ Jesus hath showed unto us, that without due qualifications there is no possibility of entering into heaven; the strait gate will keep all others out. When Christ spake this parable, he had doubtless his eye upon some passage or passages of the Old Testament, with which the Jews were well acquainted. I will mention two, and so go on.

1. The place by which God turned Adam and his wife out of paradise. Possibly our Lord might have his eye upon that; for though that was wide enough for them to come out at, yet it was too strait for them to go in at. But what should be the reason of that? Why, they had sinned; and therefore God "placed at the east of that garden cherubims, and a flaming sword, which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life." (Gen 3:24) The cherubims, and the flaming sword, they made the entrance too strait for them to enter in. Souls, there are cherubims and a flaming sword at the gates of heaven to keep the way of the tree of life; therefore none but them that are duly fitted for heaven can enter in at this strait gate; the flaming sword will keep all others out. "Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived, neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God." (1 Cor 6:9,10)

(2.) Perhaps our Lord might have his eye upon the gates of the temple when he spoke this word unto the people; for though the gates of the temple were six cubits wide, yet they were so strait, that none that were unclean in anything might enter in thereat (Eze 40:48), because there were placed at these gates, porters, whose office was to look that none but those that had right to enter might go in thither. And so it is written, Jehoiada set "porters at the gates of the house of the Lord, that none which was unclean in anything should enter in." (2 Chron 23:19) Souls, God hath porters at the gates of the temple, at the gate of heaven; porters, I say, placed there by God, to look that none that are unclean in anything may come in thither. In at the gate of the church, none may enter now that are openly profane, and scandalous to religion; no, though they plead they are beloved of God: "What hath my beloved to do in mine house," saith the Lord, "seeing she hath wrought lewdness with many?" (Jer 11:15)

I say, I am very apt to believe that our Lord Jesus Christ had his thoughts upon these two texts, when he said the gate is strait: and that which confirms me the more in the things is this, a little below the text he saith, "There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when ye shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the kingdom of heaven, and you yourselves thrust out." (Luke 13:28) Thrust out, which signifieth a violent act, resisting with striving those that would—though unqualified—enter. The porters of the temple were, for this very thing, to wear arms, if need were, and to be men of courage and strength, lest the unsanctified or unprepared should by some means enter in. We read, in the book of Revelations, of the holy city, and that it had twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels; but what did they do there? Why, amongst the rest of their service, this was one thing, that there might "in no wise enter in to it any thing that defileth, or worketh abomination, or that maketh a lie." (Rev 21:27)

[Three things that make this gate so strait.]

But more particularly, to show what it is that maketh this gate so strait. There are three things that make it strait—1. There is sin. 2. There is the word of the law. 3. There are the angels of God.

1. There is sin; the sin of the profane, and the sin of the professor.

(1.) The sin of the profane. But this needs not be enlarged upon, because it is concluded upon at all hands, where there is the common belief of the being of God, and the judgment to come, that "the wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God." (Psa 9:17)

(2.) But there is the sin of professors; or take it rather thus, there is a profession that will stand with an unsanctified heart and life. The sin of such will overpoise the salvation of their souls, the sin end being the heaviest end of the scale; I say, that being the heaviest end which hath sin in it, they tilt over, and so are, notwithstanding their glorious profession, drowned in perdition and destruction; for none such hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God; therefore "let no man deceive you with vain words; for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience"; neither will a profession be able to excuse them. (Eph 5:3-6) The gate will be too strait for such as these to enter in thereat. A man may partake of salvation in part, but not of salvation in whole. God saved the children of Israel out of Egypt, but overthrew them in the wilderness:—"I will therefore put you in remembrance, though ye once knew this, how that the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed them that believed not." (Jude 5) So we see that, notwithstanding their beginning, "they could not enter in, because of unbelief." (Heb 3:19)

2. There is the word of the law, and that will make the gate strait also. None must go in thereat but those that can go in by the leave of the law; for though no man be, or can be, justified by the works of the law, yet unless the righteousness and holiness by which they attempt to enter into this kingdom be justified by the law, it is in vain once to think of entering in at this strait gate. Now the law justifieth not, but upon the account of Christ's righteousness; if therefore thou be not indeed found in that righteousness, thou wilt find the law lie just in the passage into heaven to keep thee out. Every man's work must be tried by fire, that it may be manifest of what sort it is. There are two errors in the world about the law; one is, when men think to enter in at the strait gate by the righteousness of the law; the other is, when men think they may enter into heaven without the leave of the law. Both these, I say, are errors; for as by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified; so without the consent of the law, no flesh shall be saved. "Heaven and earth shall pass away, before one jot or tittle of the law shall fail, till all be fulfilled." He therefore must be damned that cannot be saved by the consent of the law. And, indeed, this law is the flaming sword that turneth every way; yea, that lieth to this day in the way to heaven, for a bar to all unbelievers and unsanctified professors; for it is taken out of the way for the truly gracious only. It will be found as a roaring lion to devour all others. Because of the law, therefore, the gate will be found too strait for the unsanctified to enter in. When the apostle had told the Corinthians that "the unrighteous should not inherit the kingdom of God," and that such were some of them, he adds, "But ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified, in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God." (1 Cor 6:9-11) Closely concluding, that had they not been washed, and sanctified, and justified, in the name of the Lord Jesus, the law, for their transgressions, would have kept them out; it would have made the gate too strait for them to enter in.

3. There are also the angels of God, and by reason of them the gate is strait. The Lord Jesus calleth the end of the world his harvest; and saith, moreover, that the angels are his reapers. These angels are therefore to gather his wheat into his barn, but to gather the ungodly into bundles to burn them. (Matt 13:39,41,49) Unless, therefore, the man that is unsanctified can master the law, and conquer angels; unless he can, as I may say, pull them out of the gateway of heaven, himself is not to come thither for ever. No man goeth to heaven but by the help of the angels—I mean at the day of judgment. For the Son of man "shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other." (Matt 24:31) If those that shall enter in at the strait gate shall enter in thither by the conduct of the holy angels, pray when do you think those men will enter in thither, concerning whom the angels are commanded to gather them, to "bind them in bundles to burn them?" This, therefore, is a third difficulty. The angels will make this entrance strait; yea, too strait for the unjustified and unsanctified to enter in thither.

[AN EXHORTATION TO STRIVE TO ENTER INTO THIS KINGDOM.]

Third. I come not to the exhortation, which is, to strive to enter in. "Strive to enter in at the strait gate." These words are fitly added; for since the gate is strait, it follows that they that will enter in must strive.

"Strive." This word strive supposeth that great idleness is natural to professors; they think to get to heaven by lying, as it were, on their elbows. It also suggesteth that many will be the difficulties that professors will meet with, before they get to heaven. It also concludeth that only the labouring Christian, man or woman, will get in thither. "Strive," &c.

Three questions I will propound upon the word, an answer to which may give us light into the meaning of it: I. What doth this word strive import? 4

II. How should we strive? III. Why should we strive?

[Import of the word STRIVE.]

I. What doth this word strive import? Answer,

1. When he saith, Strive, it is as much as to say, Bend yourselves to the work with all your might. "Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom in the grave, whither thou goest." (Eccl 9:10) Thus Samson did when he set himself to destroy the Philistines; "He bowed himself with all his might." (Judg 16:30) Thus David did also, when he made provision for the building and beautifying of the temple of God. (1 Chron 29:2) And thus must thou do, if ever thou enterest into heaven.

2. When he saith, Strive, he calleth for the mind and will, that they should be on his side, and on the side of the things of his kingdom; for none strive indeed, but such as have given the Son of God their heart; of which the mind and will are a principal part; for saving conversion lieth more in the turning of the mind and will to Christ, and to the love of his heavenly things, than in all knowledge and judgment. And this the apostle confirmeth, when he saith, "Stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving," &c. (Phil 1:27)

3. And, more particularly, this word strive is expressed by several other terms; as, (1.) It is expressed by that word, "So run that ye may obtain." (1 Cor 9:24,25) (2.) It is expressed by that word, "Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life." (1 Tim 6:12) (3.) It is expressed by that word, "Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life." (John 6:27) (4.) It is expressed by that word, "We wrestle—with principalities and powers, and the rulers of the darkness of this world." (Eph 6:12) Therefore, when he saith, Strive, it is as much as to say, Run for heaven, Fight for heaven, Labour for heaven, Wrestle for heaven, or you are like to go without it.

[How should we strive?]

II. The second question is, How should we strive?

Answ. The answer in general is, Thou must strive lawfully. "and if a man also strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully." (2 Tim 2:5) But you will say, What is it to strive lawfully? [I] answer—

1. To strive against the things which are abhorred by the Lord Jesus; yea, to resist to the spilling of your blood, striving against sin. (Heb 12:4) To have all those things that are condemned by the Word; yea, though they be thine own right hand, right eye, or right foot, in abomination; and to seek by all godly means the utter suppressing of them. (Mark 9:43,45,47)

2. To strive lawfully, is to strive for those things that are commanded in the Word.—"But thou, O man of God, flee the world, and follow after," that is, strive for, "righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness; fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life," &c. (1 Tim 6:11,12)

3. He that striveth lawfully, must be therefore very temperate in all the good and lawful things of this life. "And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible." (1 Cor 9:25) Most professors give leave to the world and the vanity of their hearts, to close with them, and to hang about their necks, and make their striving to stand rather in an outcry of words, than a hearty labour against the lusts and love of the world, and their own corruptions; but this kind of striving is but a beating of the air, and will come to just nothing at last. (1 Cor 9:26)

4. He that striveth lawfully, must take God and Christ along with him to the work, otherwise he will certainly be undone. "Whereunto," said Paul, "I also labour, striving according to his working, which worketh in me mightily." (Col 1:29) And for the right performing of this, he must observe these following particulars:—

(1.) He must take heed that he doth not strive about things, or words, to no profit; for God will not then be with him. "Of these things," saith the apostle, "put them in remembrance; charging them before the Lord, that they strive not about words to no profit, but to the subverting of the hearers." (2 Tim 2:14) But, alas! how many professors in our days are guilty of this transgression, whose religion stands chiefly, if not only, in a few unprofitable questions and vain wranglings about words and things to no profit, but to the destruction of the hearers!

(2.) He must take heed that whilst he strives against one sin, he does not harbour and shelter another; or that whilst he cries out against other men's sin, he does not countenance his own.

(3.) In the striving, strive to believe, strive for the faith of the gospel; for the more we believe the gospel, and the reality of the things of the world to come, with the more stomach and courage shall we labour to possess the blessedness. (Phil 1:27) "Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief." (Heb 4:11)

(4.) As we should strive for, and by faith, so we should strive by prayer, by fervent and effectual prayer. (Romans 15:30) O the swarms of our prayerless professors! What do they think of themselves? Surely the gate of heaven was heretofore as wide as in these our days; but what striving by prayer was there then among Christians for the thing that gives admittance into this kingdom, over [what] there is in these latter days!

(5.) We should also strive by mortifying our members that are upon the earth. "I therefore so run," said Paul, "not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air; but I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection, lest that by any means, when I have preached the gospel to others, I myself should be a cast-away." (1 Cor 9:26,27) But all this is spoken principally to professors; so I would be understood.

[Why should we strive?]

III. I come now to the third question, namely, But why should we strive? Answer—

1. Because the thing for which you are here exhorted to strive, it is worth the striving for; it is for not less than for a whole heaven, and an eternity of felicity there. How will men that have before them a little honour, a little profit, a little pleasure, strive? I say again, how will they strive for this? Now they do it for a corruptible crown, but we an incorruptible. Methinks this word heaven, and this eternal life, ought verily to make us strive, for what is there again either in heaven or earth like them to provoke a man to strive?

2. Strive, because otherwise the devil and hell will assuredly have thee. He goes about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. (1 Peter 5:8) These fallen angels, they are always watchful, diligent, unwearied; they are also mighty, subtle, and malicious, seeking nothing more than the damnation of thy soul. O thou that art like the artless dove, strive!

3. Strive, because every lust strives and wars against thy soul. "The flesh lusteth against the Spirit." (Gal 5:17) "Dearly beloved, I beseech you," said Peter, "as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul." (1 Peter 2:11) It is a rare thing to see or find out a Christian that indeed can bridle his lusts; but no strange thing to see such professors that are "not only bridled, but saddled too," yea, and ridden from lust to sin, from one vanity to another, by the very devil himself, and the corruptions of their hearts.

4. Strive, because thou hast a whole world against thee. The world hateth thee if thou be a Christian; the men of the world hate thee; the things of the world are snares for thee, even thy bed and table, thy wife and husband, yea, thy most lawful enjoyments have that in them that will certainly sink thy soul to hell, if thou dost not strive against the snares that are in them. (Rom 11:9)

The world will seek to keep thee out of heaven with mocks, flouts, taunts, threatenings, jails, gibbets, halters, burnings, and a thousand deaths; therefore strive! Again, if it cannot overcome thee with these, it will flatter, promise, allure, entice, entreat, and use a thousand tricks on this hand to destroy thee; and observe, many that have been stout against the threats of the world, have yet been overcome with the bewitching flatteries of the same. 5

There ever was enmity betwixt the devil and the church, and betwixt his seed and her seed too; Michael and his angels, and the dragon and his angels, these make war continually. (Gen 3, Rev 12) There hath been great desires and endeavours among men to reconcile these two in one, to wit, the seed of the serpent and the seed of the woman, but it could never yet be accomplished. The world says, they will never come over to us; and we again say, by God's grace, we will never come over to them. But the business hath not ended in words; both they and we have also added our endeavours to make each other submit, but endeavours have proved ineffectual too. They, for their part, have devised all manner of cruel torments to make us submit, as slaying with the sword, stoning, sawing asunder, flames, wild beasts, banishments, hunger, and a thousand miseries. We again, on the other side, have laboured by prayers and tears, by patience and long-suffering, by gentleness and love, by sound doctrine and faithful witness-bearing against their enormities, to bring them over to us; but yet the enmity remains; so that they must conquer us, or we must conquer them. One side must be overcome; but the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God.

5. Strive, because there is nothing of Christianity got by idleness. Idleness clothes a man with rags, and the vineyard of the slothful is grown over with nettles. (Prov 23:21, 24:30-32) Profession that is not attended with spiritual labour cannot bring the soul to heaven. The fathers before us were "not slothful in business," but "fervent in spirit, serving the Lord." Therefore "be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises." (Rom 12:11, Heb 6:12)

"Strive to enter in." Methinks the words, at the first reading, do intimate to us, that the Christian, in all that ever he does in this world, should carefully heed and regard his soul—I say, in all that ever he does. Many are for their souls by fits and starts; but a Christian indeed, in all his doing and designs which he contriveth and manageth in this world, should have a special eye to his own future and everlasting good; in all his labours he should strive to enter in: "Wisdom [Christ] is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding." (Prov 4:7) Get nothing, if thou canst not get Christ and grace, and further hopes of heaven in that getting; get nothing with a bad conscience, with the hazard of thy peace with God, and that in getting it thou weakenest thy graces which God hath given thee; for this is not to strive to enter in. Add grace to grace, both by religious and worldly duties; "For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ." (2 Peter 1:8-11) Religious duties are not the only striving times; he that thinks so is out. Thou mayest help thy faith and thy hope in the godly management of thy calling, and mayest get further footing in eternal life, by studying the glory of God in all thy worldly employment. I am speaking now to Christians that are justified freely by grace, and am encouraging, or rather counselling of them to strive to enter in; for there is an entering in by faith and good conscience now, as well as our entering in body and soul hereafter; and I must add, that the more common it is to thy soul to enter in now by faith, the more steadfast hope shalt thou have of entering in hereafter in body and soul.

"Strive to enter in." By these words also the Lord Jesus giveth sharp rebuke to those professors that have not eternal glory, but other temporal things in their eye, by all the bustle that they make in the world about religion. Some there be, what a stir they make, what a noise and clamour, with their notions and forms, and yet perhaps all is for the loaves; because they have eaten of the loaves, and are filled. (John 6:26) These strive indeed to enter, but it is not into heaven; they find religion hath a good trade at the end of it, or they find that it is the way to credit, repute, preferment, and the like, and therefore they strive to enter into these. But these have not the strait gate in their eye, nor yet in themselves have they love to their poor and perishing souls; wherefore this exhortation nippeth such, by predicting of their damnation.

"Strive to enter in." These words also sharply rebuke them who content themselves as the angel of the church of Sardis, did, to wit, "to have a name to live, and be dead" (Rev 3:1), or as they of the Laodiceans, who took their religion upon trust, and were content with a poor, wretched, lukewarm profession; for such as these do altogether unlike to the exhortation in the text, that says, Strive, and they sit and sleep; that says, Strive to enter in, and they content themselves with a profession that is never like to bring them thither.

"Strive to enter in." Further, these words put us upon proving the truth of our graces now; I say, they put us upon the proof of the truth of them now; for if the strait gate be the gate of heaven, and yet we are to strive to enter into it now, even while we live, and before we come thither, then doubtless Christ means by this exhortation, that we should use all lawful means to prove our graces in this world, whether they will stand in the judgment or no. Strive to enter in; get those graces now that will prove true graces then, and therefore try those you have; and if, upon trial, they prove not right, cast them away, and cry for better, lest they cast thee away, when better are not to be had. "Buy of me gold tried in the fire"; mark that. (Rev 3:18) Buy of me faith and grace that will stand in the judgment; strive for that faith; buy of me that grace, and also white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, that the shame of thy wickedness doth not appear, and anoint thine eyes with eye-salve, that thou mayest see. Mind you this advice; this is right striving to enter in.

But you will say, How should we try our graces? Would you have us run into temptation, to try if they be sound or rotten? Answ. You need not run into trials; God hath ordained that enough of them shall overtake thee to prove thy graces either rotten or sound before the day of thy death; sufficient to the day is the evil thereof, if thou hast but a sufficiency of grace to withstand. I say, thou shalt have trials enough overtake thee, to prove thy grace sound or rotten. Thou mayest, therefore, if God shall help thee, see how it is like to go with thee before thou goest out of this world, to wit, whether thy graces be such as will carry thee in at the gates of heaven or no.

But how should we try our graces now? Answ. (a.) How dost thou find them in outward trials? See Hebrews 11:15,16. (b.) How dost thou find thyself in the inward workings of sin? (Rom 7:24) (c.) How dost thou find thyself under the most high enjoyment of grace in this world? (Phil 3:14)

But what do you mean by these three questions? I mean graces show themselves at these their seasons, whether they be rotten or sound.

(a.) How do they show themselves to be true under the first of these? Answ. By mistrusting our own sufficiency, by crying to God for help, by desiring rather to die than to bring any dishonour to the name of God, and by counting that, if God be honoured in the trial, thou hast gained more than all the world could give thee. (2 Chron 20:12, 14:11, Acts 4, 20:22, 2 Cor 4:17,18, Heb 11:24,25)

(b.) How do they show themselves to be true under the second? Answ. By mourning, and confessing, and striving, and praying, against them; by not being content, shouldst thou have heaven, if they live, and defile thee; and by counting of holiness the greatest beauty in the world; and by flying to Jesus Christ for life. (Zech 12:10, John 19, Heb 12:14, Psa 19:12)

(c.) How do they show themselves to be true under the third? Answ. By prizing the true graces above all the world, by praying heartily that God will give thee more; by not being content with all the grace thou canst be capable of enjoying on this side heaven and glory. (Psa 84:10, Luke 17:5, Phil 3)

"Strive to enter in." The reason why Christ addeth these words, "to enter in," is obvious, to wit, because there is no true and lasting happiness on this side heaven; I say, none that is both true and lasting, I mean, as to our sense and feeling as there shall [be]; "For here have we no continuing city, but we seek one to come." (Heb 13:14) The heaven is within, strive therefore to enter in; the glory is within, strive therefore to enter in; the Mount Zion is within, strive therefore to enter in; the heavenly Jerusalem is within, strive therefore to enter in; angels and saints are within, strive therefore to enter in; and, to make up all, the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, and that glorious Redeemer, is within, strive therefore to enter in.

"Strive to enter in." "For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie." Without are also the devils, and hell, and death, and all damned souls; without is howling, weeping, wailing, and gnashing of teeth; yea, without are all the miseries, sorrows, and plagues that an infinite God can in justice and power inflict upon an evil and wicked generation; "Strive therefore to enter in at the strait gate." (Rev 22:15, Matt 25:41, Rev 12:9, Is 65:13,14, Matt 22:13, Deu 29:18-20)

"Strive to enter in at the strait gate; for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able."

[MOTIVE TO STRIVE TO ENTER INTO THIS KINGDOM.]

Fourth. We are come now to the motive which our Lord urges to enforce his exhortation.

He told us before that the gate was strait; he also exhorted us to strive to enter in thereat, or to get those things now that will further our entrance then, and to set ourselves against those things that will hinder our entering in.

In this motive there are five things to be minded.

1. That there will be a disappointment to some at the day of judgment; they will seek to enter in, and shall not be able.

2. That not a few, but many, will meet with this disappointment; "For many will seek to enter in, and shall not be able."

3. This doctrine of the miscarriage of many then, it standeth upon the validity of the word of Christ; "For many, I say, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able."

4. Professors shall make a great heap among the many that shall fall short of heaven; "For many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able."

5. Where grace and striving are wanting now, seeking and contending to enter in will be unprofitable then; "For many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able."

But I will proceed in my former method, to wit, to open the words unto you.

[Import of the words FOR MANY.]

"For many," &c. If he had said, For some will fall short, it had been a sentence to be minded; if he had said, For some that seek will fall short, it had been very awakening; but when he saith, Many, many will fall short, yea, many among professors will fall short, this is not only awakening, but dreadful!

[Various applications of the word MANY.]—"For many," &c. I find this word many variously applied in Scripture.

1. Sometimes it intendeth the open profane, the wicked and ungodly world, as where Christ saith, "Wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat." (Matt 7:13) I say, by the many here, he intends those chiefly that go on in the broad way of sin and profaneness, bearing the "tokens" of their damnation in their foreheads, those whose daily practice proclaims that their "feet go down to death, and their steps take hold on hell." (Job 21:29,30, Isa 3:9, Prov 4)

2. Sometimes this word many intendeth those that cleave to the people of God deceitfully, and in hypocrisy, or, as Daniel hath it, "Many shall cleave to them with flatteries." (Dan 11:34) The word many in this text includeth all those who feign themselves better than they are in religion; it includeth, I say, those that have religion only for a holiday suit6 to set them out at certain times, and when they come among suitable company.

3. Sometimes this word many intendeth them that apostatize from Christ; such as for a while believe, and in time of temptation fall away; as John saith of some of Christ's disciples: "From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him." (John 6:66)

4. Sometimes this word many intendeth them that make a great noise, and do many great things in the church, and yet want saving grace: "Many," saith Christ, "will say unto me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?" (Matt 7:22) Mark, there will be many of these.

5. Sometimes this word many intendeth those poor, ignorant, deluded souls that are led away with every wind of doctrine; those who are caught with the cunning and crafty deceiver, who lieth in wait to beguile unstable souls: "And many shall follow their pernicious ways, by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of." (2 Peter 2:2)

6. Sometimes this word many includeth all the world, good and bad: "And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt." (Dan 12:2) Compare with John 5:28,29.

7. Lastly. Sometimes this word many intendeth the good only, even them that shall be saved. (Luke 1:16, 2:34)

[How MANY is applied in the text.] Since then that the word is so variously applied, let us inquire how it must be taken in the text. And,

1. It must not be applied to the sincerely godly, for they shall never perish. (John 10:27,28) 2. It cannot be applied to all the world, for then no flesh should be saved. 3. Neither is it to be applied to the open profane only, for then the hypocrite is by it excluded. 4. But by the many in the text our Lord intendeth in special the professor; the professor, I say, how high soever he seems to be now, that shall be found without saving grace in the day of judgment.

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