T H E
By J O H N.B U N Y A N.
[V. NINE MOTIVES TO URGE US ON IN THE WAY.]
he First Motive. Consider there is no way but this, thou must either win or lose. If thou winnest, then heaven, God, Christ, glory, ease, peace, life, yea, life eternal, is thine; thou must be made equal to the angels in heaven; thou shalt sorrow no more, sigh no more, feel no more pain; thou shalt be out of the reach of sin, hell, death, the devil, the grave, and whatever else may endeavour thy hurt. But contrariwise, and if thou lose, then thy loss is heaven, glory, God, Christ, ease, peace, and whatever else which tendeth to make eternity comfortable to the saints; besides, thou procurest eternal death, sorrow, pain, blackness, and darkness, fellowship with devils, together with the everlasting damnation of thy own soul.
The Second Motive. Consider that this devil, this hell, death and damnation, followeth after thee as hard as they can drive, and have their commission so to do by the law, against which thou hast sinned; and therefore for the Lords sake make haste.
The Third Motive. If they seize upon thee before thou get to the city of Refuge, they will put an everlasting stop to thy journey. This also cries, Run for it.
The Fourth Motive. Know also, that now heaven gates, the heart of Christ, with his arms, are wide open to receive thee. O methinks that this consideration, that the devil followeth after to destroy, and that Christ standeth open-armed to receive, should make thee reach out and fly with all haste and speed! And therefore,
The Fifth Motive. Keep thine eye upon the prize; be sure that thy eyes be continually upon the profit thou art like to get. The reason why men are so apt to faint in their race for heaven, it lieth chiefly in either of these two things:
1. They do not seriously consider the worth of the prize; or else if they do, they are afraid it is too good for them; but most lose heaven for want of considering the price and the worth of it. And therefore, that thou mayst not do the like, keep thine eye much upon the excellency, the sweetness, the beauty, the comfort, the peace, that is to be had there by those that win the prize. This was that which made the apostle run through anything; good report, evil report, persecution, affliction, hunger, nakedness, peril by sea, and peril by land, bonds and imprisonments. Also it made others endure to be stoned, sawn asunder, to have their eyes bored out with augurs, their bodies broiled on gridirons, their tongues cut out of their mouths, boiled in cauldrons, thrown to the wild beasts, burned at the stakes, whipped at posts, and a thousand other fearful torments, while they looked not at the things which are seen, as the things of this world, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal (2 Cor 4:18). O this word eternal, that was it that made them, that when they might have had deliverance, they would not accept of it; for they knew in the world to come they should have a better resurrection (Heb 11:35).
2. And do not let the thoughts of the rareness of the place make thee say in thy heart, This is too good for me; for I tell thee, heaven is prepared for whosoever will accept of it, and they shall be entertained with hearty good welcome. Consider, therefore, that as bad as thou have got thither; thither went scrubbed, beggarly Lazarus, &c. Nay, it is prepared for the poor: Hearken, my beloved brethren, saith James, take notice of it, Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom? (James 2:5). Therefore take heart and RUN, man. And,
The Sixth Motive. Think much of them that are gone before. First, How really they got into the kingdom. Secondly, How safe they are in the arms of Jesus; would they be here again for a thousand worlds? Or if they were, would they be afraid that God would not make them welcome? Thirdly, What would they judge of thee if they knew thy heart began to fail thee in thy journey, or thy sins began to allure thee, and to persuade thee to stop thy race? would they not call thee a thousand fools? and say, O, that he did but see what we see, feel what we feel, and taste of the dainties that we taste of! O, if he were here one quarter of an hour, to behold, to see, to feel, to taste and enjoy but the thousandth part of what we enjoy, what would he do? What would he suffer? What would he leave undone? Would he favour sin? Would he love this world below? Would he be afraid of friends, or shrink at the most fearful threatenings that the greatest tyrants could invent to give him? Nay, those who have had but a sight of these things by faith, when they have been as far off from them as heaven from earth, yet they have been able to say with a comfortable and merry heart, as the bird that sings in the spring, that this and more shall not keep them from running to heaven. Sometimes, when my base heart hath been inclining to this world, and to loiter in my journey towards heaven, the very consideration of the glorious saints and angels in heaven, what they enjoy, and what low thoughts they have of the things of this world together, how they would befool me if they did but know that my heart was drawing back; [this] hath caused me to rush forward, to disdain these poor, low, empty, beggarly things, and to say to my soul, Come, soul, let us not be weary; let us see what this heaven is; let us even venture all for it, and try if that will quit the cost. Surely Abraham, David, Paul, and the rest of the saints of God, were as wise as any are now, and yet they lost all for this glorious kingdom. O! therefore, throw away stinking lusts, follow after righteousness, love the Lord Jesus, devote thyself unto his fear, Ill warrant thee he will give thee a goodly recompense. Reader, what sayst thou to this? Art [thou] resolved to follow me? Nay, resolve if thou canst to get before me. So run, that ye may obtain.
The Seventh Motive. To encourage thee a little farther, set to the work, and when thou hast run thyself down weary, then the Lord Jesus will take thee up, and carry thee. Is not this enough to make any poor soul begin his race? Thou, perhaps, criest, O but I am feeble, I am lame, &c.: well, but Christ hath a bosom; consider, therefore, when thou hast run thyself down weary, he will put thee in his bosom: He shall gather the lambs with his arms, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young (Isa 40:11). This is the way that fathers take to encourage their children, saying: Run, sweet babe, while thou art weary, and then I will take thee up and carry thee. He will gather his lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom. When they are weary they shall ride.
The Eighth Motive. Or else he will convey new strength from heaven into thy soul, which will be as well, The youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall; but they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint (Isa 40:30,31). What shall I say besides what hath already been said? Thou shalt have good and easy lodging, good and wholesome diet, the bosom of Christ to lie in, the joys of heaven to feed on. Shall I speak of the satiety and of the duration of all these? Verily to describe them to the height it is a work too hard for me to do.
The Ninth Motive. Again methinks the very industry of the devil, and the industry of his servants, &c., should make you that have a desire to heaven and happiness to run apace. Why, the devil, he will lose no time, spare no pains, also neither will his servants, both to seek the destruction of themselves and others: and shall not we be as industrious for our own salvation? Shall the world venture the damnation of their souls for a poor corruptible crown; and shall not we venture the loss of a few trifles for an eternal crown? Shall they venture the loss of eternal friends, as God to love, Christ to redeem, the Holy Spirit to comfort, heaven for habitation, saints and angels for company, and all this to get and hold communion with sin, and this world, and a few base, drunken, swearing, lying, covetous wretches, like themselves? And shall not we labour as hard, run as fast, seek as diligently, nay, a hundred times more diligently, for the company of these glorious eternal friends, though with the loss of such as these, nay, with the loss of ten thousand times better than these poor, low, base, contemptible things? Shall it be said at the last day, that wicked men made more haste to hell than you did make to heaven? That they spent more hours, days, and that early and late, for hell, than you spent for that which is ten thousand thousand of thousands times better? O let it not be so, but run with all might and main.
Thus you see I have here spoken something, though but little. Now I shall come to make some use and application of what hath been said, and so conclude.