T H E
By J O H N.B U N Y A N.
[IV. NINE DIRECTIONS HOW TO RUN]
he First Direction. If thou wouldst so run as to obtain the kingdom of heaven, then be sure that thou get into the way that leadeth thither. For it is a vain thing to think that ever thou shalt have the prize, though thou runnest never so fast, unless thou art in the way that leads to it. Set the case, that there should be a man in London that was to run to York for a wager; now, though he run never so swiftly, yet if he run full south, he might run himself quickly out of breath, and be never the nearer the prize, but rather the further off. Just so is it here; it is not simply the runner, nor yet the hasty runner, that winneth the crown, unless he be in the way that leadeth thereto. I have observed, that little time which I have been a professor, that there is a great running to and fro, some this way, and some that way, yet it is to be feared most of them are out of the way, and then, though they run as swift as the eagle can fly, they are benefitted nothing at all.
Here is one runs a-quaking, another a-ranting; one again runs after the Baptism, and another after the Independency. Here is one for free-will, and another for Presbytery; and yet possibly most of all these sects run quite the wrong way, and yet every one is for his life, his soul, either for heaven or hell.
If thou now say, Which is the way? I tell thee it is CHRIST, THE SON OF MARY, THE SON OF GOD, Jesus saith, I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no man cometh unto the Father but by me (John 14:6). So then thy business is, if thou wouldst have salvation, to see if Christ be thine, with all his benefits; whether he hath covered thee with his righteousness, whether he hath showed thee that thy sins are washed away with his heart-blood, whether thou art planted into him, and whether thou have faith in him, so as to make a life out of him, and to conform thee to him. That is, such faith as to conclude that thou art righteous, because Christ is thy righteousness, and so constrained to walk with him as the joy of thy heart, because he saveth thy soul. And for the Lords sake take heed, and do not deceive thyself, and think thou art in the way upon too slight grounds; for if thou miss of the way, thou wilt miss of the prize; and if thou miss of that, I am sure thou wilt lose thy soul, even that soul which is worth more than the whole world.
But I have treated more largely on this in my book of the two covenants, and therefore shall pass it now; only I beseech thee to have a care of thy soul, and that thou mayest so do, take this counsel: Mistrust thy own strength, and throw it away; down on thy knees in prayer to the Lord for the spirit of truth; search his word for direction; fly seducers company; keep company with the soundest Christians, that have most experience of Christ; and be sure thou have a care of Quakers, Ranters, Freewillers; also do not have too much company with some Anabaptists, though I go under that name myself. I tell thee this is such a serious matter, and I fear thou wilt so little regard it, that the thoughts of the worth of the thing, and of thy too light regarding of it, doth even make my heart ache whilst I am writing to thee. The Lord teach thee the way by his Spirit, and then I am sure thou wilt know it. SO RUN.
Only by the way, let me bid thee have a care of two things, and so I shall pass to the next thing.
I. Have a care of relying on the outward obedience to any of God's commands, or thinking thyself ever the better in the sight of God for that. 2. Take heed of fetching peace for thy soul from any inherent righteousness; but if thou canst believe that as thou art a sinner, so thou art justified freely by the love of God, through the redemption that is in Christ; and that God for Christ's sake hath forgiven thee, not because he saw any thing done, or to be done, in or by thee, to move him thereunto to do it; for that is the right way; the Lord put thee into it, and keep thee in it.
The Second Direction. As thou shouldst get into the way so thou shouldst also be much in studying and musing on the way. You know men that would be expert in any thing, they are usually much in studying of that thing, and so likewise is it with those that quickly grow expert in any way. This therefore thou shouldst do; let thy study be much exercised about Christ, which is the way; what he is, what he hath done, and why he is what he is, and why he hath done what is done; as, why He took upon him the form of a servant, why he was made in the likeness of men (Phil 2:7). Why he cried; why he died; why he bear the sin of the world; why he was made sin, and why he was made righteousness; why he is in heaven in the nature of man, and what he doth there? (2 Cor 5:21). Be much in musing and considering of these things; be thinking also enough of those places which thou must not come near, but leave some on this hand, and some on that hand; as it is with those that travel into other countries, they must leave such a gate on this hand, and such a bush on that hand, and go by such a place, where standeth such a thing. Thus, therefore, thou must do: Avoid such things which are expressly forbidden in the Word of God. Withdraw thy foot far from her, and come not nigh the door of her house, for her steps take hold on hell, going down to the chambers of death (Prov 5, 7). And so of every thing that is not in the way, have a care of it, that thou go not by it; come not near it, have nothing to do with it. SO RUN.
The Third Direction. Not only thus, but, in the next place, thou must strip thyself of those things that may hang upon thee to the hindering of thee in the way to the kingdom of heaven, as covetousness, pride, lust, or whatever else thy heart may be inclining unto, which may hinder thee in this heavenly race. Men that run for a wager, if they intend to win as well as run, they do not use to encumber themselves, or carry those things about them that may be a hindrance to them in their running. Every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things (1 Cor 9:25), that is, he layeth aside every thing that would be any ways a disadvantage to him; as saith the apostle, Let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us (Heb 12:1). It is but a vain thing to talk of going to heaven, if thou let thy heart be encumbered with those things that would hinder. Would you not say that such a man would be in danger of losing, though he run, if he fill his pockets with stones, hang heavy garments on his shoulders, and great lumpish shoes on his feet? So it is here; thou talkest of going to heaven, and yet fillest thy pocket with stones, i.e., fillest thy heart with this world, lettest that hang on thy shoulders, with it's profits and pleasures. Alas, alas, thou art widely mistaken! If thou intendest to win, thou must strip, thou must lay aside every weight, thou must be temperate in all things. Thou must SO RUN.
The Fourth Direction. Beware of by-paths; take heed thou dost not turn into those lanes which lead out of the way. There are crooked paths, paths in which men go astray, paths that lead to death and damnation, but take heed of all those (Isa 59:8). Some of them are dangerous because of practice (Prov 7:25); some because of opinion, but mind them not; mind the path before thee, look right before thee, turn neither to the right hand nor to the left, but let thine eyes look right on, even right before thee (Prov 3:17). Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways be established. Turn not to the right hand nor to the left. Remove thy foot far from evil (Prov 4:26,27). This counsel being not so seriously taken as given, is the reason of that starting from opinion to opinion, reeling this way and that way, out of this lane into that lane, and so missing the way to the kingdom. Though the way to heaven be but one, yet there are many crooked lanes and by-paths shoot down upon it, as I may say. And again, notwithstanding the kingdom of heaven be the biggest city, yet usually those by-paths are most beaten, most travellers go those ways; and therefore the way to heaven is hard to be found, and as hard to be kept in, by reason of these. Yet, nevertheless, it is in this case as it was with the harlot of Jericho; she had one scarlet thread tied in her window, by which her house was known (John 2:18). So it is here, the scarlet streams of Christ's blood run throughout the way to the kingdom of heaven; therefore mind that, see if thou do find the besprinkling of the blood of Christ in the way, and if thou do, be of good cheer, thou art in the right way; but have a care thou beguile not thyself with a fancy, for then thou mayst light into any lane or way; but that thou mayst not be mistaken, consider, though it seem never so pleasant, yet if thou do not find that in the very middle of the road there is writing with the heart-blood of Christ, that he came into the world to save sinners, and that we are justified, though we are ungodly; shun that way; for this it is which the apostle meaneth when he saith, We have boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which he hath consecrated for us, through the vail, that is to say, his flesh (Heb 10:19,20). How easy a matter is it in this our day, for the devil to be too cunning for poor souls, by calling his by-paths the way to the kingdom! If such an opinion or fancy be but cried up by one or more, this inscription being set upon it by the devil, This is the way of God, how speedily, greedily, and by heaps, do poor simple souls throw away themselves upon it; especially if it be daubed over with a few external acts of morality, if so good. But this is because men do not know painted by-paths from the plain way to the kingdom of heaven. They have not yet learned the true Christ, and what his righteousness is, neither have they a sense of their own insufficiency; but are bold, proud, presumptuous, self-conceited. And therefore.
The Fifth Direction. Do not thou be too much in looking too high in thy journey heavenwards. You know men that run in a race do not use to stare and gaze this way and that, neither do they use to cast up their eyes too high, lest happily, through their too too much gazing with their eyes after other things, they in the meantime stumble and catch a fall. The very same case is this; if thou gaze and stare after every opinion and way that comes into the world; also if thou be prying overmuch into God's secret decrees, or let thy heart too much entertain questions about some nice foolish curiosities, thou mayst stumble and fall, as many hundreds in England have done, both in Ranting and Quakery, to their own eternal overthrow; without the marvellous operation of God's grace be suddenly stretched forth to bring them back again. Take heed therefore, follow not that proud and lofty spirit, that, devil-like, cannot be content with his own station. David was of an excellent spirit where he saith, Lord, my heart is not haughty, nor mine eyes lofty, neither do I exercise myself in great matters, or in things too high for me. Surely I have behaved and quieted myself as a child that is weaned of his mother: my soul is even as a weaned child (Psa 131:1,2). Do thou SO RUN.
The Sixth Direction. Take heed that you have not an ear open to every one that calleth after you as you are in your journey. Men that run, you know, if any do call after them, saying, I would speak with you, or go not too fast, and you shall have my company with you, if they run for some great matter, they use to say, Alas, I cannot stay, I am in haste, pray talk not to me now; neither can I stay for you, I am running for a wager: if I win I am made, if I lose I am undone, and therefore hinder me not. Thus wise are men when they run for corruptible things, and thus should thou do, and thou hast more cause to do so than they, forasmuch as they run but for things that last not, but thou for an incorruptible glory. I give thee notice of this betimes, knowing that thou shalt have enough call after thee, even the devil, sin, this world, vain company, pleasures, profits, esteem among men, ease, pomp, pride, together with an innumerable company of such companions; one crying, Stay for me; the other saying, Do not leave me behind; a third saying, And take me along with you. What, will you go, saith the devil, without your sins, pleasures, and profits? Are you so hasty? Can you not stay and take these along with you? Will you leave your friends and companions behind you? Can you not do as your neighbours do, carry the world, sin, lust, pleasure, profit, esteem among men, along with you? Have a care thou do not let thine ear now be open to the tempting, enticing, alluring, and soul-entangling flatteries of such sink-souls as these are. My son, saith Solomon, if sinners entice thee, consent thou not (Prov 1:10).
You know what it cost the young man which Solomon speaks of in the 7th of the Proverbs, that was enticed by a harlot, With her much fair speech she won him, and caused him to yield, with the flattering of her lips she forced him, till he went after her as an ox to the slaughter, or as a fool to the correction of the stocks; even so far, till the dart struck through his liver, and knew not that it was for his life. Hearken unto me now therefore, saith he, O ye children, and attend to the words of my mouth, let not thine heart decline to her ways, go not astray in her paths, for she hath cast down many wounded, yea, many strong men have been slain by her, that is, kept out of heaven by her, her house is the way to hell, going down to the chambers of death. Soul, take this counsel and say, Satan, sin, lust, pleasure, profit, pride, friends, companions, and everything else, let me alone, stand off, come not nigh me, for I am running for heaven, for my soul, for God, for Christ, from hell and everlasting damnation: if I win, I win all, and if I lose, I lose all; let me alone, for I will not hear. SO RUN.
The Seventh Direction. In the next place, be not daunted though thou meetest with never so many discouragements in thy journey thither. That man that is resolved for heaven, if Satan cannot win him by flatteries, he will endeavour to weaken him by discouragements; saying, thou art a sinner, thou hast broke God's law, thou art not elected, thou comest too late, the day of grace is past, God doth not care for thee, thy heart is naught, thou art lazy, with a hundred other discouraging suggestions. And thus it was with David, where he said, I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living (Psa 27:13,14). As if he should say, the devil did so rage and my heart was so base, that had I judged according to my own sense and feeling, I had been absolutely distracted; but I trusted to Christ in the promise, and looked that God would be as good as his promise, in having mercy upon me, an unworthy sinner; and this is that which encouraged me, and kept me from fainting. And thus must thou do when Satan, or the law, or thy own conscience, do go about to dishearten thee, either by the greatness of thy sins, the wickedness of thy heart, the tediousness of the way, the loss of outward enjoyments, the hatred that thou wilt procure from the world, or the like; then thou must encourage thyself with the freeness of the promises, the tender-heartedness of Christ, the merits of his blood, the freeness of his invitations to come in, the greatness of the sin of others that have been pardoned, and that the same God, through the same Christ, holdeth forth the same grace free as ever. If these be not thy meditations, thou wilt draw very heavily in the way to heaven, if thou do not give up all for lost, and so knock off from following any farther; therefore, I say, take heart in thy journey, and say to them that seek thy destruction, Rejoice not against me, O mine enemy, when I fall I shall arise, when I sit in darkness the Lord shall be a light unto me (Micah 7:8). SO RUN.
The Eighth Direction. Take heed of being offended at the cross that thou must go by, before thou come to heaven. You must understand, as I have already touched, that there is no man that goeth to heaven but he must go by the cross. The cross is the standing way-mark by which all they that go to glory must pass by. We must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God (Acts 14:22). Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution (2 Tim 3:12). If thou art in the way to the kingdom, my life for thine thou wilt come at the cross shortly, the Lord grant thou dost not shrink at it, so as to turn thee back again. If any man will come after me, saith Christ, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me (Luke 9:23). The cross it stands, and hath stood, from the beginning, as a way-mark to the kingdom of heaven. You know if one ask you the way to such and such a place, you, for the better direction, do not only say, this is the way, but then also say, you must go by such a gate, by such a style, such a bush, tree, bridge, or such like. Why, so it is here; art thou inquiring the way to heaven? Why, I tell thee, Christ is the way; into him thou must get, into his righteousness, to be justified; and if thou art in him, thou wilt presently see the cross, thou must go close by it, thou must touch it, nay, thou must take it up, or else thou wilt quickly go out of the way that leads to heaven, and turn up some of those crooked lanes that lead down to the chambers of death.
How thou mayest know the cross by these six things. 1. It is known in the doctrine of justification. 2. In the doctrine of mortification. 3. In the doctrine of perseverance. 4. In self-denial. 5. Patience. 6. Communion with poor saints.
1. In the doctrine of justification; there is a great deal of the cross in that: a man is forced to suffer the destruction of his own righteousness for the righteousness of another. This is no easy matter for a man to do; I assure to you it stretcheth every vein in his heart before he will be brought to yield to it. What, for a man to deny, reject, abhor, and throw away all his prayers, tears, alms, keeping of sabbaths, hearing, reading, with the rest, in the point of justification, and to count them accursed; and to be willing, in the very midst of the sense of his sins, to throw himself wholly upon the righteousness and obedience of another man, abhorring his own, counting it as deadly sin, as the open breach of the law; I say, to do this in deed and in truth, is the biggest piece of the cross; and therefore Paul calleth this very thing a suffering; where he saith, And I have SUFFERED the loss of all things, which principally was his righteousness, that I might win Christ, and be found in him, not having, but rejecting, mine own righteousness (Phil 3:8,9). That is the first.
2. In the doctrine of mortification is also much of the cross. Is it nothing for a man to lay hands on his vile opinions, on his vile sins, of his bosom sins, of his beloved, pleasant, darling sins, that stick as close to him, as the flesh sticketh to the bones? What, to lose all these brave things that my eyes behold, for that which I never saw with my eyes? What, to lose my pride, my covetousness, my vain company, sports, and pleasures, and the rest? I tell you this is no easy matter; if it were, what need all those prayers, sighs, watchings? What need we be so backward to it? Nay, do you not see, that some men, before they will set about this work, they will even venture the loss of their souls, heaven, God, Christ, and all? What means else all those delays and put-offs, saying, Stay a little longer, I am loth to leave my sins while I am so young, and in health? Again, what is the reason else, that others do it so by the halves, coldly and seldom, notwithstanding they are convinced over and over; nay, and also promise to amend, and yet alls in vain? I will assure you, to cut off right hands, and to pluck out right eyes, is no pleasure to the flesh.
3. The doctrine of perseverance is also cross to the flesh; which is not only to begin, but for to hold out, not only to bid fair, and to say, Would I had heaven, but so to know Christ, to put on Christ, and walk with Christ as to come to heaven. Indeed, it is no great matter to begin to look for heaven, to begin to seek the Lord, to begin to shun sin. O but it is a very great matter to continue with God's approbation! My servant Caleb, saith God, is a man of another spirit, he hath followed me, followed me always, he hath continually followed me, fully, he shall possess the land (Num 14:24). Almost all the many thousands of the children of Israel in their generation, fell short of perseverance when they walked from Egypt towards the land of Canaan. Indeed they went to the work at first pretty willingly, but they were very short-winded, they were quickly out of breath, and in their hearts they turned back again into Egypt.
It is an easy matter for a man to run hard for a spurt, for a furlong, for a mile or two; O, but to hold out for a hundred, for a thousand, for ten thousand miles: that man that doth this, he must look to meet with cross, pain, and wearisomeness to the flesh, especially if as he goeth he meeteth with briars and quagmires, and other incumbrances, that make his journey so much the more painfuller.
Nay, do you not see with your eyes daily, that perseverance is a very great part of the cross? why else do men so soon grow weary? I could point out a many, that after they have followed the ways of God about a twelvemonth, others it may be two, three, or four, some more, and some less years, they have been beat out of wind, have taken up their lodging and rest before they have got half-way to heaven, some in this, and some in that sin; and have secretly, nay, sometimes openly said, that the way is too strait, the race too long, the religion too holy, and cannot hold out, I can go no farther.
4, 5, 6. And so likewise of the other three, to wit, patience, self-denial, communion, and communication with and to the poor saints. How hard are these things? It is an easy matter to deny another man, but it is not so easy a matter to deny ones self; to deny myself out of love to God, to his gospel, to his saints, of this advantage, and of that gain; nay, of that which otherwise I might lawfully do, were it not for offending them. That scripture is but seldom read, and seldomer put in practice, which saith, I will eat no flesh while the world standeth, if it make my brother to offend (1 Cor 8:13). Again, We that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves (Rom 15:1). But how froward, how hasty, how peevish, and self-resolved are the generality of professors at this day! Also, how little considering the poor, unless it be to say, Be thou warmed and filled! But to give is a seldom work; also especially to give to any poor (Gal 6:10). I tell you all things are cross to flesh and blood; and that man that hath but a watchful eye over the flesh, and also some considerable measure of strength against it, he shall find his heart in these things like unto a starting horse, that is rid without a curbing bridle, ready to start at everything that is offensive to him; yea, and ready to run away too, do what the rider can.
It is the cross which keepeth those that are kept from heaven. I am persuaded, were it not for the cross, where we have one professor, we should have twenty; but this cross, that is it which spoileth all.
Some men, as I said before, when they come at the cross they can go no farther, but back again to their sins they must go. Others they stumble at it, and break their necks; others again, when they see the cross is approaching, they turn aside to the left hand, or to the right hand, and so think to get to heaven another way; but they will be deceived. Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus SHALL, mark, shall be sure to suffer persecution (2 Tim 3:12). There are but few when they come at the cross, cry, Welcome cross, as some of the martyrs did to the stake they were burned at. Therefore, if thou meet with the cross in thy journey, in what manner soever it be, be not daunted, and say, Alas, what shall I do now! But rather take courage, knowing, that by the cross is the way to the kingdom. Can a man believe in Christ and not be hated by the devil? Can he make a profession of this Christ, and that sweetly and convincingly, and the children of Satan hold their tongue? Can darkness agree with light? or the devil endure that Christ Jesus should be honoured both by faith and a heavenly conversation, and let that soul alone at quiet? Did you never read, that the dragon persecuteth the woman? (Rev 12). And that Christ saith, In the world ye shall have tribulation (John 16:33).
The Ninth Direction. Beg of God that he would do these two things for thee: First, Enlighten thine understanding. And, Second, Inflame thy will. If these two be but effectually done, there is no fear but thou wilt go safe to heaven.
[First, Enlighten thine understanding.] One of the great reasons why men and women do so little regard the other world, it is because they see so little of it. And the reason why they see so little of it is because they have their understandings darkened. And therefore, saith Paul, do not you believers walk as do other Gentiles, even in the vanity of their minds, having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance, or foolishness that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart (Eph 4:17,18). Walk not as those, run not with them: alas, poor souls, they have their understandings darkened, their hearts blinded, and that is the reason they have such undervaluing thoughts of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the salvation of their souls. For when men do come to see the things of another world, what a God, what a Christ, what a heaven, and what an eternal glory there is to be enjoyed; also when they see that it is possible for them to have a share in it, I tell you it will make them run through thick and thin to enjoy it. Moses, having a sight of this, because his understanding was enlightened, he feared not the wrath of the king, but chose rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season. He refused to be called the son of the kings daughter; accounting it wonderful riches to be counted worthy of so much as to suffer for Christ, with the poor despised saints; and that was because he saw him who was invisible, and had respect unto the recompence of the reward (Heb 11:24-27). And this is that which the apostle usually prayeth for in his epistles for the saints, namely, That they might know what is the hope of God's calling, and the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints (Eph 1:18). And that they might be able to comprehend with all saints, what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height, and to know the love of Christ which passeth knowledge (Eph 3:18,19). Pray therefore that God would enlighten thy understanding: that will be very great help unto thee. It will make thee endure many a hard brunt for Christ; as Paul saith, After ye were illuminated, ye endured a great fight of afflictions. You took joyfully the spoiling of your goods, knowing in yourselves that ye have in heaven a better and an enduring substance (Heb 10:32-34). If there be never such a rare jewel lie just in a mans way, yet if he sees it not, he will rather trample upon it than stoop for it, and it is because he sees it not. Why, so it is here, though heaven be worth never so much, and thou hast never so much need of it, yet if thou see it not, that is, have not thy understanding opened or enlightened to see it, thou wilt not regard at all: therefore cry to the Lord for enlightening grace, and say, Lord, open my blind eyes: Lord, take the vail off my dark heart, show me the things of the other world, and let me see the sweetness, glory, and excellency of them for Christ his sake. This is the first.
[Second, Inflame thy will.] Cry to God that he would inflame thy will also with the things of the other world. For when a mans will is fully set to do such or such a thing, then it must be a very hard matter that shall hinder that man from bringing about his end. When Paul's will was set resolvedly to go up to Jerusalem, though it was signified to him before what he should there suffer, he was not daunted at all; nay, saith he, I am ready, or willing, not to be bound only, but also to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus (Acts 21:13). His will was inflamed with love to Christ; and therefore all the persuasions that could be used wrought nothing at all. Your self-willed people nobody knows what to do with them; we used to say, He will have his own will, do all what you can. Indeed to have such a will for heaven, is an admirable advantage to a man that undertaketh the race thither; a man that is resolved, and hath his will fixed, saith he, I will do my best to advantage myself; I will do my worst to hinder my enemies; I will not give out as long as I can stand; I will have it or I will lose my life; though he slay me yet will I trust in him (Job 13:15). I will not let thee go except thou bless me (Gen 32:26). I WILL, I WILL, I WILL, O this blessed inflamed will for heaven! What is like it? If a man be willing, then any argument shall be matter of encouragement; but if unwilling, then any argument shall give discouragement; this is seen both in saints and sinners; in them that are the children of God, and also those that are the children of the devil. As,
1. The saints of old, they being willing and resolved for heaven, what could stop them? Could fire or faggot, sword or halter, stinking dungeons, whips, bears, bulls, lions, cruel rackings, stoning, starving, nakedness, &c. (Heb 11). Nay, in all these things they were more than conquerors, through him that loved them (Rom 8:37); who had also made them willing in the day of his power.
2. See again, on the other side, the children of the devil, because they are not willing [to run to heaven], how many shifts and starting-holes they will have. I have married a wife, I have a farm, I shall offend my landlord, I shall offend my master, I shall lose my trading, I shall lose my pride, my pleasures, I shall be mocked and scoffed, therefore I dare not come. I, saith another, will stay till I am older, till my children are out of sight, till I am got a little aforehand in the world, till I have done this and that, and the other business; but alas, the thing is, they are not willing; for were they but soundly willing, these, and a thousand such as these, would hold them no faster than the cords held Samson when he broke them like burned flax (Judg 15:14). I tell you the will is all: that is one of the chief things which turns the wheel either backwards or forwards; and God knoweth that full well, and so likewise doth the devil; and therefore they both endeavour very much to strengthen the will of their servants. God, he is for making of his a willing people to serve him; and the devil, he doth what he can to possess the will and affection of those that are his, with love to sin; and therefore when Christ comes close to the matter, indeed, saith he, Ye will not come to me (John 5:40). How often would I have gathered you as a hen doth her chickens, and ye would not (Luke 13:34). The devil had possessed their wills, and so long he was sure enough of them. O therefore cry hard to God to inflame thy will for heaven and Christ: thy will, I say, if that be rightly set for heaven, thou wilt not be beat off with discouragements; and this was the reason that, when Jacob wrestled with the angel, though he lost a limb, as it were, and the hollow of his thigh was put out of joint, as he wrestled with him, yet, saith he, I will not, mark, I WILL NOT let thee go except thou bless me (Gen 32:24-26). Get thy will tipt with the heavenly grace, and resolution against all discouragements, and then thou goest full speed for heaven; but if thou falter in thy will, and be not found there, thou wilt run hobbling and halting all the way thou runnest, and also to be sure thou wilt fall short at the last. The Lord give thee a will and courage!
Thus have I done with directing thee how to run to the kingdom; be sure thou keep in memory what I have said unto thee, lest thou lose thy way. But because I would have thee think of them, take all in short in this little bit of paper.
1. Get into the way. 2. Then study on it. 3. Then strip, and lay aside everything that would hinder. 4. Beware of bye-paths. 5. Do not gaze and stare too much about thee, and be sure to ponder the path of thy feet. 6. Do not stop for any that call after thee, whether it be the world, the flesh, or the devil; for all these will hinder thy journey, if possible. 7. Be not daunted with any discouragements thou meetest with as thou goest. 8. Take heed of stumbling at the cross. 9. Cry hard to God for an enlightened heart, and a willing mind, and God give thee a prosperous journey. Yet before I do quite take my leave of thee, let me give thee a few motives along with thee. It may be they will be as good as a pair of spurs to prick on thy lumpish heart in this rich voyage.