The  Strait  Gate   Part II
by John Bunyan  (1628-1688)


I shall speak but a word or two to the first part of the observation, because I have prevented my enlargement thereon by my explication upon the words; but you find in the 25th of Matthew, that all they on the left hand of the Judge did put in all the claim they could for this blessed kingdom of heaven. If you should take them on the left hand as most do, for all the sinners that shall be damned, then that completely proveth the first part of the observation; for it is expressly said, “Then shall they,” all of them jointly, and every one apart, “also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thus and thus, and did not minister unto thee?” (Matt 25:44) I could here bring you in the plea of the slothful servant, the cry of the foolish virgins; I could also here enlarge upon that passage, “Lord, Lord, have we not eaten and drunk in thy presence, and thou hast taught in our streets?” But these things are handled already in the handling of which this first part of the observation is proved; wherefore, without more words, I will, God assisting by his grace, descend to the second part thereof, to wit,


I shall speak distinctly to this part of the observation, and shall first confirm it by a Scripture or two. “Strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” (Matt 7:14) “Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” (Luke 12:32) By these two texts, and by many more that will be urged anon, you may see the truth of what I have said.

To enlarge, therefore, upon the truth; and, First, more generally; Second, more particularly. More generally, I shall prove that in all ages but few have been saved. More particularly, I shall prove but few of them that profess have been saved.

[First, Generally—in all ages but few have been saved.]

1. In the old world, when it was most populous, even in the days of Noah, we read but of eight persons that were saved out of it; well, therefore, might Peter call them but few; but how few? why, but eight souls; “wherein few, that is, eight souls, were saved by water.” (1 Peter 3:20) He touches a second time upon this truth, saying, He “spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly.” (2 Peter 2:5) Mark, all the rest are called the ungodly, and there were also a world of them. These are also taken notice of in Job, and go there also by the name of wicked men: “Hast thou marked the old way which wicked men have trodden? which were cut down out of time, whose foundation was overflown with a flood, which said unto God, Depart from us, and what can the Almighty do for them?” (Job 22:15-17)

There were therefore but eight persons that escaped the wrath of God, in the day that the flood came upon the earth; the rest were ungodly; there was also a world of them, and they are to this day in the prison of hell. (Heb 11:7, 1 Peter 3:19,20) Nay, I must correct my pen, there were but seven of the eight that were good; for Ham, though he escaped the judgment of the water, yet the curse of God overtook him to his damnation. 2. When the world began again to be replenished, and people began to multiply therein: how few, even in all ages, do we read of that were saved from the damnation of the world!

(1.) One Abraham and his wife, God called out of the land of the Chaldeans; “I called,” said God, “Abraham alone.” (Isa 51:2)

(2.) One Lot out of Sodom and Gomorrah, out of Admah and Zeboim; one Lot out of four cities! Indeed his wife and two daughters went out of Sodom with him; but they all three proved naught, as you may see in the 19th of Genesis. Wherefore Peter observes, that Lot only was saved: “He turned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes, condemning them with an overthrow, making them an example unto those that after should live ungodly, and delivered just Lot, that righteous man.” (Read 2 Peter 2:6-8) Jude says, that in this condemnation God overthrew not only Sodom and Gomorrah, but the cities about them also; and yet you find none but Lot could be found that was righteous, either in Sodom or Gomorrah, or the cities about them; wherefore they, all of them, suffer the vengeance of eternal fire. (verse 7)

(3.) Come we now to the time of the Judges, how few then were godly, even then when the inhabitants of the villages ceased, they ceased in Israel! “the highways” of God “were” then “unoccupied.” (Judg 5:6,7)

(4.) There were but few in the days of David: “Help, Lord,” says he, “for the godly man ceaseth, for the faithful fail from among the children of men.” (Psa 12:1)

(5.) In Isaiah’s time the saved were come to such a few, that he positively says that there were a very small number left: “God had made them like Sodom, and they had been like unto Gomorrah.” (Isa 1:8,9)

(6.) It was cried unto them in the time of Jeremiah, that they should “run to and fro through the streets of Jerusalem, and see now, and know, and seek in the broad places thereof, if ye can find a man, if there be any that executeth judgment, that seeketh the truth, and I will pardon it.” (Jer 5:1)

(7.) God showed his servant Ezekiel how few there would be saved in his day, by the vision of a few hairs saved out of the midst of a few hairs; for the saved were a few saved out of a few. (Eze 5:5)

(8.) You find in the time of the prophet Micah, how the godly complain, that as to number they then were so few, that he compares them to those that are left behind when they had gathered the summer- fruit. (Micah 7:1)

(9.) When Christ was come, how did he confirm this truth, that but few of them that put in claim for heaven will have it for their inheritance! But the common people could not hear it, and therefore, upon a time when he did but a little hint at this truth, the people, even all in the synagogue where he preached it, “were filled with wrath, rose up, thrust him out of the city, and led him unto the brow of the hill,” whereon their city was built, “that they might cast him down headlong.” (Luke 4:24-29)

(10.) John, who was after Christ, saith, “The whole world lieth in wickedness; that all the world wondered after the beast; and that power was given to the beast over all kindreds, tongues, and nations.” Power to do what? Why, to cause all, both great and small, rich and poor, bond and free, to receive his mark, and to be branded for him. (1 John 5:10, Rev 13:3,7,16)

(11.) Should we come to observation and experience, the show of the countenance of the bulk of men doth witness against them; “they declare their sin as Sodom, they hide it not.” (Isa 3:9) Where is the man that maketh the Almighty God his delight, and that designeth his glory in the world? Do not even almost all pursue this world, their lusts and pleasures? and so, consequently, say unto God, “Depart from us, for we desire not the knowledge of thy ways; or, What is the Almighty that we should serve him? It is in vain to serve God,” &c.

So that without doubt it will appear a truth in the day of God, that but few of them that shall put in their claim to heaven will have it for their inheritance.

Before I pass this head, I will show you to what the saved are compared in the Scriptures.

[To what the saved are compared in Scripture.]

1. They are compared to a handful: “There shall be a handful of corn in the earth upon the top of the mountains,” &c. (Psa 72:16) This corn is nothing else but them that shall be saved. (Matt 3:12, 13:30) But mark, “There shall be a handful”: What is a handful, when compared with the whole heap? or, what is a handful out of the rest of the world?

2. As they are compared to a handful, so they are compared to a lily among the thorns, which is rare, and not so commonly seen: “As the lily among thorns,” saith Christ, “so is my love among the daughters.” (Cant 2:2) By thorns, we understand the worst and best of men, even all that are destitute of the grace of God, for “the best of them is a brier, the most upright” of them “as a thorn- hedge.” (Micah 7:4, 2 Sam 23:6) I know that she may be called a lily amongst thorns also, because she meets with the pricks of persecution. (Eze 2:6, 28:24) She may also be thus termed, to show the disparity that is betwixt hypocrites and the church. (Luke 8:14, Heb 8) But this is not all; the saved are compared to a lily among thorns, to show you that they are but few in the world; to show you that they are but few and rare; for as Christ compares her to a lily among thorns, so she compares him to an apple-tree among the trees of the wood, which is rare and scarce; not common.

3. They that are saved are called but one of many; for though there be “threescore queens, and fourscore concubines, and virgins without number,” yet my love, saith Christ, is but one, my undefiled is but one. (Cant 6:8,9) According to that of Jeremiah, “I will take you one of a city.” (Jer 3:14) That saying of Paul is much like this, “Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize?” (1 Cor 9:24) But one, that is, few of many, few of them that run; for he is not here comparing them that run with them that sit still, but with them that run, some run and lose, some run and win; they that run and win are few in comparison with them that run and lose: “They that run in a race run all, but one receives the prize”; let there then be “threescore queens, and fourscore concubines, and virgins without number,” yet the saved are but few.

4. They that are saved are compared to the gleaning after the vintage is in: “Woe is me,” said the church, “for I am as when they have gathered the summer-fruits, as the grape-gleanings” after the vintage is in. (Micah 7:1) The gleanings! What are the gleanings to the whole crop? and yet you here see, to the gleanings are the saved compared. It is the devil and sin that carry away the cartloads, while Christ and his ministers come after a gleaning. But the gleaning of the grapes of Ephraim are better than the vintage of Abiezer. (Judg 8:2) Them that Christ and his ministers glean up and bind up in the bundle of life, are better than the loads that go the other way. You know it is often the cry of the poor in harvest, Poor gleaning, poor gleaning. And the ministers of the gospel they also cry, Lord, “who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed?” (Isa 53:1) When the prophet speaks of the saved under this metaphor of gleaning, how doth he amplify the matter? “Gleaning-grapes shall be left,” says he, “two or three berries in the top of the uppermost bough, four or five in the outmost fruitful branches thereof, saith the Lord.” (Isa 17:6) Thus you see what gleaning is left in the vineyard, after the vintage is in; two or three here, four or five there. Alas! they that shall be saved when the devil and hell have had their due, they will be but as the gleaning, they will be but few; they that go to hell, go thither in clusters, but the saved go not so to heaven. (Matt 13:30, Micah 7) Wherefore when the prophet speaketh of the saved, he saith there is no cluster; but when he speaketh of the damned, he saith they are gathered by clusters. (Rev 14:18,19) O sinners! but few will be saved! O professors! but few will be saved!

5. They that shall be saved are compared to jewels: “and they shall be mine, saith the Lord of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels.” (Mal 3:17) Jewels, you know, are rare things, things that are not found in every house. Jewels will lie in little room, being few and small, though lumber takes up much. In almost every house, you may find brass, and iron, and lead; and in every place you may find hypocritical professors, but the saved are not these common things; they are God’s peculiar treasure. (Psa 135:4) Wherefore Paul distinguisheth betwixt the lumber and the treasure in the house. There is, saith he, in a great house, not only vessels of gold and silver, but also of wood and of earth, and some to honour, and some to dishonour. (2 Tim 2:20) Here is a word for wooden and earthy professors; the jewels and treasures are vessels to honour, they of wood and earth are vessels of dishonour, that is, vessels for destruction. (Rom 9:21) 6. They that shall be saved are compared to a remnant: “Except the Lord of hosts had left unto us a very small remnant, we should have been as Sodom, and we should have been like unto Gomorrah.” (Isa 1:9) A remnant, a small remnant, a very small remnant! O how doth the Holy Ghost word it! and all to show you how few shall be saved. Every one knows what a remnant is, but this is a small remnant, a very small remnant. So again, “Sing with gladness for Jacob, and shout among the chief of the nations: publish ye, praise ye, and say, O Lord, save thy people, the remnant of Israel.” (Jer 31:7) What shall I say? the saved are often in Scripture called a remnant. (Eze 9:4,8, Isa 10:20-22, 11:11,16, Jer 23:3, Joel 2:32) But what is a remnant to the whole piece? What is a remnant of people to the whole kingdom? or what is a remnant of wheat to the whole harvest?

7. The saved are compared to the tithe or tenth part; wherefore when God sendeth the prophet to make the hearts of the people fat, their ears dull, and to shut their eyes, the prophet asketh, “How long?” to which God answereth, “Until the cities be wasted without inhabitant, and the houses without man, and the land be utterly desolate, and the Lord have removed men far away, and there be a great forsaking in the midst of the land. But yet,” as God saith in another place, “I will not make a full end,” “in it shall be a tenth, - so the holy seed shall be the substance thereof.” (Isa 6:10-13) But what is a tenth? What is one in ten? And yet so speaks the Holy Ghost, when he speaks of the holy seed, of those that were to be reserved from the judgment. And observe it, the fattening and blinding of the rest, it was to their everlasting destruction; and so both Christ and Paul expounds it often in the New Testament. (Matt 13:14,15, Mark 4:12, Luke 8:10, John 12:40, Acts 28:26, Rom 11:8) So that those that are reserved from them that perish will be very few, one in ten: “A tenth shall return, so the holy seed shall be the substance thereof.” [14]

I shall not add more generals at this time. I pray God that the world be not offended at these. But without doubt, but few of them that shall put in their claim for heaven will have it for their inheritance; which will yet further appear in the reading of that which follows.

[Second. Particularly—but few of them that profess have been saved.]

Therefore I come more particularly to show you that but few shall be saved. I say, but few of professors themselves will be saved; for that is the truth that the text doth more directly look at and defend. Give me, therefore, thy hand, good reader, and let us soberly walk through the rest of what shall be said; and let us compare as we go each particular with the holy Scripture.

1. It is said, “The daughter of Zion is left as a cottage in a vineyard, as a lodge in a garden of cucumbers, as a besieged city.” (Isa 1:8) The vineyard was the church of Israel, the cottage in that vineyard was the daughter of Zion, or the truly gracious amongst, or in that church. (Isa 5:1) A cottage; God had but a cottage there, but a little habitation in the church, a very few that were truly gracious amongst that great multitude that professed; and had it not been for these, for this cottage, the rest had been ruined as Sodom: “Except the Lord of hosts had left unto us,” in the church, a very few, they had been as Sodom. (Isa 1:9) Wherefore, among the multitude of them that shall be damned, professors will make a considerable party.

2. “For though thy people Israel be as the sand of the sea, a remnant of them shall return,” “a remnant shall be saved.” (Isa 10:22, Rom 9:27) For though thy people Israel, whom thou broughtest out of Egypt, to whom thou hast given church- constitution, holy laws, holy ordinances, holy prophets, and holy covenants; thy people by separation from all people, and thy people by profession; though this thy people be as the sand of the sea, “a remnant shall be saved”; wherefore, among the multitude of them that shall be damned, professors will make a considerable party.

3. “Reprobate silver shall men call them, because the Lord hath rejected them.” (Jer 6:30) The people here under consideration are called, in verse 27, God’s people, his people by profession: “I have set thee for a tower and a fortress among my people, that thou mayest know, and try their way.” What follows? They are all grievous revolters, walking with slanders, reprobate silver; the Lord hath rejected them. In chapter 7, verse 29, they are called also the generation of his wrath: “For the Lord hath rejected and forsaken the generation of his wrath.” This, therefore, I gather out of these holy Scriptures,—that with reference to profession and church-constitution, a people may be called the people of God; but, with reference to the event and final conclusion that God will make with some of them, they may be truly the generation of his wrath.

4. In the fifth of Isaiah, you read again of the vineyard of God, and that it was planted on a very fruitful hill, planted with the choicest vines, had a wall, a tower, a wine-press belonging to it, and all things that could put it into right order and good government, as a church; but this vineyard of the Lord of hosts brought forth wild grapes, fruits unbecoming her constitution and government, wherefore the Lord takes from her his hedge and wall, and lets her be trodden down. Read Christ’s exposition upon it in Matthew 21:33, &c. Look to it, professors, these are the words of the text, “For many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able.”

5. “Son of man,” said God to the prophet, “the house of Israel is to me become dross, all they are brass and tin, and iron and lead, in the midst of the furnace they even are the dross of silver.” (Eze 22:18) God had silver there, some silver, but it was but little; the bulk of that people was but the dross of the church, though they were the members of it. But what doth he mean by the dross? why, he looked upon them as no better, notwithstanding their church-membership, than the rabble of the world, that is, with respect to their latter end; for to be called dross, it is to be put amongst the rest of the sinners of the world, in the judgment of God, though at present they abide in his house: “Thou puttest away all the wicked of the earth like dross; therefore I love thy testimonies.” (Psa 119:119)

God saith of his saved ones, “He hath chosen them in the furnace of affliction.” The refiner, when he putteth his silver into his furnace, he puts lead in also among it; now this lead being ordered as he knows how, works up the dross from the silver, which dross, still as it riseth, he putteth by, or taketh away with an instrument. And thus deals God with his church; there is silver in his church, aye, and there is also dross: now the dross are the hypocrites and graceless ones that are got into the church, and these will God discover, and afterwards put away as dross. So that it will without doubt prove a truth of God, that many of their professors that shall put in claim for heaven, will not have it for their inheritance.

6. It is said of Christ, his “fan is in his hand, and he will thoroughly purge his floor, and will gather his wheat into the garner, but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.” (Matt 3:12) The floor is the church of God: “O my threshing, and the corn of my floor!” said God by the prophet, to his people. (Isa 21:10) The wheat are these good ones in his church that shall be undoubtedly saved; therefore he saith, “Gather my wheat into my garner.” The chaff groweth upon the same stalk and ear, and so is in the same visible body with the wheat, but there is not substance in it: wherefore in time they must be severed one from the other; the wheat must be gathered into the garner, which is heaven; and the chaff, or professors that want true grace, must be gathered into hell, that they may be burned up with unquenchable fire. Therefore let professors look to it! [15]

7. Christ Jesus casts away two of the three grounds that are said to receive the word. (Luke 8)

The stony ground received it with joy, and the thorny ground brought forth fruit almost to perfection. Indeed the highway ground was to show us that the carnal, whilst such, receive not the word at all; but here is the pinch, two of the three that received it, fell short of the kingdom of heaven; for but one of the three received it so as to bring forth fruit to perfection. Look to it, professors!

8. The parable of the unprofitable servant, the parable of the man without a wedding garment, and the parable of the unsavoury salt, do each of them justify this for truth. (Matt 25:24,29, 22:11-13, 5:13) That of the unprofitable servant is to show us the sloth and idleness of some professors; that of the man without a wedding garment is to show us how some professors have the shame of their wickedness seen by God, even when they are among the children of the bridegroom; and that parable of the unsavoury salt is to show, that as the salt that hath lost its savour is fit for nothing, no, not for the dunghill, but to be trodden under foot of men; so some professors, yea, and great ones too, for this parable reached one of the apostles, will in God’s day be counted fit for nothing but to be trodden down as the mire in the streets. O the slothful, the naked, and unsavoury professors, how will they be rejected of God and his Christ in the judgment! Look to it, professors!

9. The parable of the tares also giveth countenance to this truth: for though it be said the field is the world, yet it is said, the tares were sown even in the church. “And while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way.” (Matt 13:24,25) Object. But some may object, The tares might be sown in the world among the wheat, though not in the churches. Answ. But Christ, by expounding this parable, tells us the tares were sown in his kingdom; the tares, that is, the children of the devil. “As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world. The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity, and shall cast them into a furnace of fire; there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.” (verse 30,39- 43) Look to it, professors!

10. The parable of the ten virgins also suiteth our purpose; these ten are called the kingdom of heaven, that is, the church of Christ, the visible rightly-constituted church of Christ; for they went all out of the world, had all lamps, and all went forth to meet the bridegroom; yet behold what an overthrow the one- half of them met with at the gate of heaven; they were shut out, bid to depart, and Christ told them he did not know them. (Matt 25:1-13) Tremble, professors! Pray, professors!

11. The parable of the net that was cast into the sea, that also countenanceth this truth. The substance of that parable is to show that souls may be gathered by the gospel—there compared to a net—may be kept in that net, drawn to shore, to the world’s end, by that net, and yet may then prove bad fishes, and be cast away. The parable runs thus:—“The kingdom of heaven,” the gospel, “is like unto a net which was cast into the sea,” the world, “and gathered of every kind,” good and bad, “which when it was full, they drew to shore,” to the end of the world, “and sat down,” in judgment, “and gathered the good into vessels, but cast the bad away.” Some bad fishes, nay, I doubt a great many, will be found in the net of the gospel, at the day of judgment. (Matt 13:47,49) Watch and be sober, professors!

12. “And - many shall come from the east and from the west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven. But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out.” (Matt 8:11,12) The children of the kingdom, whose privileges were said to be these, “to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises.” (Rom 9:4) I take liberty to harp the more upon the first church, because that that happened to them, happened as types and examples, intimating, there is ground to think, that things of as dreadful a nature are to happen among the church of the Gentiles. (1 Cor 10:11,12) Neither, indeed, have the Gentile churches security from God that there shall not as dreadful things happen to them. And concerning this very thing, sufficient caution is given to us also. (1 Cor 6:9,10, Gal 5:19-21, Eph 5:3-6, Phil 3:17,19, 2 Thess 2:11,12, 2 Tim 2:20,21, Heb 6:4-8, 10:26-28, 2 Peter 2, 3, 1 John 5:10, Rev 2:20-22)

13. The parable of the true vine and its branches confirm what I have said. By the vine there I understand Christ, Christ as head; by the branches, I understand this church. Some of these branches proved fruitless cast-always, were in time cast out of the church, were gathered by men, and burned. (John 15:1-6)

14. Lastly, I will come to particular instances.

(1.) The twelve had a devil among them. (John 6:70) (2.) Ananias and Sapphira were in the church of Jerusalem. (Acts 5) (3.) Simon Magus was among them at Samaria. (Acts 8) (4.) Among the church of Corinth were them that had not the knowledge of God. (1 Cor 15:34) (5.) Paul tells the Galatians that false brethren crept in unawares; and so does the apostle Jude, and yet they were as quick-sighted to see as any now-a- days. (Gal 2:4, Jude 4) (6.) The church in Sardis had but a few names in her, to whom the kingdom of heaven belonged. “Thou hast a few names, even in Sardis, which have not defiled their garments, and they shall walk with me in white, for they are worthy.” (Rev 3:4) (7.) As for the church of the Laodiceans, it is called “wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked.” (Rev 3:17) So that put all things together, and I may boldly say, as I also have said already, that among the multitude of them that shall be damned, professors will make a considerable party; or, to speak in the words of the observation, “when men have put in all the claim they can for heaven, but few will have it for their inheritance.”


I will show you some reasons of the point, besides those five that I showed you before. And, First, I will show you why the poor, carnal, ignorant world miss of heaven; and then, Second, why the knowing professors miss of it also.

[First, Why the poor, carnal, ignorant world miss heaven.]

1. The poor, carnal, ignorant world miss of heaven even because they love their sins, and cannot part with them. “Men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.” (John 3:19) The poor ignorant world miss of heaven, because they are enemies in their minds to God, his Word, and holiness; they must be all damned who take pleasure in unrighteousness. (2 Thess 2:10-12) The poor ignorant world miss of heaven, because they stop their ears against convictions, and refuse to come when God calls. “Because I have called, and ye refused, I have stretched out my hand, and no man regarded, but ye have set at nought all my counsel, and would none of my reproof; I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your fear cometh - as desolation, and your destruction - as a whirlwind, when distress and anguish cometh upon you; then shall they call upon me, but I will not answer; they shall seek me early, but they shall not find me.” (Prov 1:24-29)

2. The poor ignorant world miss of heaven, because the god of this world hath blinded their eyes, that they can neither see the evil and damnable state they are in at present, nor the way to get out of it; neither do they see the beauty of Jesus Christ, nor how willing he is to save poor sinners. (2 Cor 4:2,3)

3. The poor ignorant world miss of heaven, because they put off and defer coming to Christ, until the time of God’s patience and grace is over. Some, indeed, are resolved never to come; but some, again, say, We will come hereafter; and so it comes to pass, that because God called, and they did not hear; so they shall cry, and I will not hear, saith the Lord. (Zech 7:11-13)

4. The poor ignorant world miss of heaven, because they have false apprehensions of God’s mercy. They say in their hearts, We shall have peace, though we walk in the imagination of our heart, to add drunkenness to thirst. But what saith the Word? “The Lord will not spare him; but then the anger of the Lord, and his jealousy, shall smoke against that man, and all the curses that are written in this book shall lie upon him, and the Lord shall blot out his name from under heaven.” (Deu 29:19- 21)

5. The poor ignorant world miss of heaven, because they make light of the gospel that offereth mercy to them freely, and because they lean upon their own good meanings, and thinkings, and doings. (Matt 22:1-5, Rom 9:30,31)

6. The poor carnal world miss of heaven because by unbelief, which reigns in them, they are kept for ever from being clothed with Christ’s righteousness, and from washing in his blood, without which there is neither remission of sin, nor justification. But to pass these till anon.

[Second.] I come, in the next place, to show you some reasons why the professor falls short of heaven.

First. In the general, they rest in things below special grace; as in awakenings that are not special, in faith [16] that is not special, &c.; and, a little to run a parallel betwixt the one and the other, that, if God will, you may see and escape.

1. Have they that shall be saved, awakenings about their state by nature? So have they that shall be damned. They that never go to heaven may see much of sin, and of the wrath of God due thereto. This had Cain and Judas, and yet they came short of the kingdom. (Gen 4, Matt 27:4) The saved have convictions, in order to their eternal life; but the others” convictions are not so. The convictions of the one doth drive them sincerely to Christ; the convictions of the other doth drive them to the law, and the law to desperation at last.

2. There is a repentance that will not save, a repentance to be repented of; and a repentance to salvation, not to be repented of. (2 Cor 7:10) Yet so great a similitude and likeness there is betwixt the one and the other, that most times the wrong is taken for the right, and through this mistake professors perish. As, (1.) In saving repentance there will be an acknowledgment of sin; and one that hath the other repentance may acknowledge his sins also. (Matt 27:4) (2.) In saving repentance there is a crying out under sin; but one that hath the other repentance may cry out under sin also. (Gen 4:13) (3.) In saving repentance there will be humiliation for sin; and one that hath the other repentance may humble himself also. (1 Kings 21:29) (4.) Saving repentance is attended with self-loathing; but he that hath the other repentance may have loathing of sin too; a loathing of sin, because it is sin, that he cannot have; but a loathing of sin, because it is offensive to him, that he may have. The dog doth not loath that which troubleth his stomach because it is there, but because it troubleth him; when it has done troubling of him, he can turn to it again, and lick it up as before it troubled him. (2 Peter 2:22) (5.) Saving repentance is attended with prayers and tears; but he that hath none but the other repentance, may have prayers and tears also. (Gen 27:34,35, Heb 12:16,17) (6.) In saving repentance there is fear and reverence of the Word and ministers that bring it; but this may be also where there is none but the repentance that is not saving; for Herod feared John, knowing that he was a just man and holy, and observed him; when he heard him, he did many things, and heard him gladly. (Mark 6:20) (7.) Saving repentance makes a man’s heart very tender of doing anything against the Word of God. But Balaam could say, “If Balak would give me his house full of silver and gold, I cannot go beyond the commandment of the Lord.” (Num 24:13)

Behold, then, how far a man may go in repentance, and yet be short of that which is called, “Repentance unto salvation, not to be repented of.” (a.) He may be awakened; (b.) He may acknowledge his sin; (c.) He may cry out under the burden of sin; (d.) He may have humility for it; (e.) He may loath it; (f.) May have prayers and tears against it; (g.) may delight to do many things of God; (h.) May be afraid of sinning against him—and, after all this, may perish, for want of saving repentance.

Second. Have they that shall be saved, faith? Why, they that shall not be saved may have faith also; yea, a faith in many things so like the faith that saveth, that they can hardly be distinguished, though they differ both in root and branch. To come to particulars.

1. Saving faith hath Christ for its object, and so may the faith have that is not saving. Those very Jews of whom it is said they believed on Christ, Christ tells them, and that after their believing, “Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do.” (John 8:30-44) 2. Saving faith is wrought by the Word of God, and so may the faith be that is not saving. (Luke 8:13) 3. Saving faith looks for justification without works, and so may a faith do that is not saving. (James 2:18) 4. Saving faith will sanctify and purify the heart, and the faith that is not saving may work a man off from the pollutions of the world, as it did Judas, Demas, and others. (2 Peter 2) 5. Saving faith will give a man tastes of the world to come, and also joy by those tastes, and so will the faith do that is not saving. (Heb 6:4,5, Luke 8:13) 6. Saving faith will help a man, if called thereto, to give his body to be burned for his religion, and so will the faith do that is not saving. (1 Cor 13:1-5) 7. Saving faith will help a man to look for an inheritance in the world to come, and that may the faith do that is not saving. All those virgins “took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom.” (Matt 25:1) 8. Saving faith will not only make a man look for, but prepare to meet the bridegroom, and so may the faith do that is not saving. “Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps.” (Matt 25:7) 9. Saving faith will make a man look for an interest in the kingdom of heaven with confidence, and the faith that is not saving will even demand entrance of the Lord. “Lord, Lord, open to us.” (Matt 25:11) 10. Saving faith will have good works follow it into heaven, and the faith that is not saving may have great works follow it, as far as to heaven gates. “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)

Now, then, if the faith that is not saving may have Christ for its object, be wrought by the Word, look for justification without works, work men off from the pollutions of the world, and give men tastes of, and joy in the things of another world—I say again, if it will help a man to burn for his judgment, and to look for an inheritance in another world; yea, if it will help a man to prepare for it, claim interest in it; and if it can carry great works, many great and glorious works, as far as heaven gates, then no marvel if abundance of people take this faith for the saving faith, and so fall short of heaven thereby. Alas, friends! There are but few that can produce such [works] for repentance; and such faith, as yet you see I have proved even reprobates have had in several ages of the church. [17]


Third. They that go to heaven are a praying people; but a man may pray that shall not be saved. Pray! He may pray, pray daily; yea, he may ask of God the ordinances of justice, and may take delight in approaching to God; nay, further, such souls may, as it were, cover the altar of the Lord with tears, with weeping and crying out. (Isa 28:2, Mal 2:13)

Fourth. Do God’s people keep holy fasts? They that are not his people may keep fasts also—may keep fasts often—even twice a week. “The Pharisee stood, and prayed thus with himself: God, I thank thee that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.” (Luke 18:11,12) I might enlarge upon things, but I intend but a little book. I do not question but many Balaamites will appear before the judgment-seat to condemnation; men that have had visions of God, and that knew the knowledge of the Most High; men that have had the Spirit of God come upon them, and that have by that been made other men; yet these shall go to the generations of their fathers, they shall never see light. (Num 24:2,4,16, 1 Sam 10:6,10, Psa 49:19)

I read of some men whose excellency in religion mounts up to the heavens, and their heads reach unto the clouds, who yet shall perish for ever like their own dung; and he that in this world hath seen them, shall say at the judgment, Where are they? (Job 20:5-7) There will be many a one, that were gallant professors in this world, be wanting among the saved in the day of Christ’s coming; yea, many whose damnation was never dreamed of. Which of the twelve ever thought that Judas would have proved a devil? Nay, when Christ suggested that one among them was naught, they each were more afraid of themselves than of him. (Matt 26:21-23) Who questioned the salvation of the foolish virgins? The wise ones did not; they gave them the privilege of communion with themselves. (Matt 25) The discerning of the heart, and the infallible proof of the truth of saving grace, is reserved to the judgment of Jesus Christ at his coming. The church and best of saints sometimes hit, and sometimes miss in their judgments about this matter; and the cause of our missing in our judgment is, 1. Partly because we cannot infallibly, at all times, distinguish grace that saveth from that which doth but appear to do so. 2. Partly also because some men have the art to give right names to wrong things. 3. And partly because we, being commanded to receive him that is weak, are afraid to exclude the least Christian. By a hid means hypocrites creep into the churches. But what saith the Scripture? “I the Lord search the heart, I try the reins.” And again, “All the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts; and I will give unto every one of you according to your works.” (Jer 11:20, 17:10, Rev 2:23) To this Searcher of hearts is the time of infallible discerning reserved, and then you shall see how far grace that is not saving hath gone; and also how few will be saved indeed. The Lord awaken poor sinners by my little book.


I come now to make some brief use and application of the whole: and

[USE FIRST.]—My first word shall be to the open profane. Poor sinner, thou readest here that but a few will be saved; that many that expect heaven will go without heaven. What sayest thou to this, poor sinner? Let me say it over again. There are but few to be saved, but very few. Let me add, but few professors— but few eminent professors. What sayest thou now, sinner? If judgment begins at the house of God, what will the end of them be that obey not the gospel of God? This is Peter’s question. Canst thou answer it, sinner? Yea, I say again, if judgment must begin at them, will it not make thee think, What shall become of me? And I add, when thou shalt see the stars of heaven to tumble down to hell, canst thou think that such a muck-heap of sin as thou art shall be lifted up to heaven? Peter asks thee another question, to wit, “If the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?” (1 Peter 4:18) Canst thou answer this question, sinner? Stand among the righteous thou mayest not: “The ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.” (Psa 1:5) Stand among the wicked thou then wilt not dare to do. Where wilt thou appear, sinner? To stand among the hypocrites will avail thee nothing. The hypocrite “shall not come before him,” that is, with acceptance, but shall perish. (Job 13:16) Because it concerns thee much, let me over with it again! When thou shalt see less sinners than thou art, bound up by angels in bundles, to burn them, where wilt thou appear, sinner? Thou mayest wish thyself another man, but that will not help thee, sinner. Thou mayest wish, Would I had been converted in time; but that will not help thee either. And if, like the wife of Jeroboam, thou shouldst feign thyself to be another woman, the Prophet, the Lord Jesus, would soon find thee out! What wilt thou do, poor sinner? Heavy tidings, heavy tidings, will attend thee, except thou repent, poor sinner! (1 Kings 14:2,5,6, Luke 13:3,5) O the dreadful state of a poor sinner, of an open profane sinner! Everybody that hath but common sense knows that this man is in the broad way to death, yet he laughs at his own damnation.

Shall I come to particulars with thee?

1. Poor unclean sinner, the “harlot’s house is the way to hell, going down to the chambers of death.” (Prov 2:18, 5:5, 7:27)

2. Poor swearing and thievish sinner, God hath prepared the curse, that “every one that stealeth shall be cut off as on this side according to it; and every one that sweareth shall be cut off as on that side, according to it.” (Zech 5:3)

3. Poor drunken sinner, what shall I say to thee? “Woe to the drunkards of Ephraim,” “woe unto them that are mighty to drink wine, and men of - strong drink; they shall not inherit the kingdom of heaven.” (Isa 28:1, 5:22, 1 Cor 6:9,10)

4. Poor covetous worldly man, God’s Word says, that “the covetous the Lord abhorreth”; that the “covetous man is an idolater”; and that the covetous “shall not inherit the kingdom of God.” (Psa 10:3, Eph 5:5, John 2:15, 1 Cor 6:9,10)

5. And thou liar, what wilt thou do? “All liars shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone.” (Rev 21:8,27)

I shall not enlarge, poor sinner, let no man deceive thee; “for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience.” (Eph 5:6) I will therefore give thee a short call, and so leave thee.

Sinner, awake: yea, I say unto thee, awake! Sin lieth at thy door, and God’s axe lieth at thy root, and hell-fire is right underneath thee. (Gen 4:7) I say again, Awake! “Therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.” (Matt 3:10)

Poor sinner, awake; eternity is coming, and HIS SON, they are both coming to judge the world; awake, art yet asleep, poor sinner? let me set the trumpet to thine ear once again! The heavens will be shortly on a burning flame; the earth, and the works thereof, shall be burned up, and then wicked men shall go into perdition; dost thou hear this, sinner? (2 Peter 3) Hark again, the sweet morsels of sin will then be fled and gone, and the bitter burning fruits of them only left. What sayest thou now, sinner? Canst thou drink hell-fire? Will the wrath of God be a pleasant dish to thy taste? This must be thine every day’s meat and drink in hell, sinner!

I will yet propound to thee God’s ponderous question, and then for this time leave thee: “Can thine heart endure, or can thine hands be strong, in the days that I shall deal with thee?” saith the Lord. (Eze 22:14) What sayest thou? Wilt thou answer this question now, or wilt thou take time to do it? or wilt thou be desperate, and venture all? And let me put this text in thine ear to keep it open; and so the Lord have mercy upon thee: “Upon the wicked shall the Lord rain snares, fire and brimstone, and an horrible tempest; this shall be the portion of their cup.” (Psa 11:6) Repent, sinners!

[USE SECOND.]—My second word is to them that are upon the potter’s wheel; concerning whom we know not as yet whether their convictions and awakenings will end in conversion or not. Several things I shall say to you, both to further your convictions, and to caution you from staying anywhere below or short of saving grace.

1. Remember that but few shall be saved; and if God should count thee worthy to be one of that few, what a mercy would that be!

2. Be thankful, therefore, for convictions; conversion begins at conviction, though all conviction doth not end in conversion. It is a great mercy to be convinced that we are sinners, and that we need a Saviour; count it therefore a mercy, and that thy convictions may end in conversion, do thou take heed of stifling of them. It is the way of poor sinners to look upon convictions as things that are hurtful; and therefore they use to shun the awakening ministry, and to check a convincing conscience. Such poor sinners are much like to the wanton boy that stands at the maid’s elbow, to blow out her candle as fast as she lights it at the fire. Convinced sinner, God lighteth thy candle, and thou puttest it out; God lights it again, and thou puttest it out. Yea, “how oft is the candle of the wicked put out?” (Job 21:17) At last, God resolveth he will light thy candle no more; and then, like the Egyptians, you dwell all your days in darkness, and never see light more, but by the light of hell-fire; wherefore give glory to God, and if he awakens thy conscience, quench not thy convictions. Do it, saith the prophet, “before he cause darkness, and before your feet stumble upon the dark mountains, and he turn” your convictions “into the shadow of death, and make them gross darkness.” (Jer 13:16)

(1.) Be willing to see the worst of thy condition. It is better to see it here than in hell; for thou must see thy misery here or there. (2.) Beware of little sins; they will make way for great ones, and they again will make way for bigger, upon which God’s wrath will follow; and then may thy latter end be worse than thy beginning. (2 Peter 2:20) (3.) Take heed of bad company, and evil communication, for that will corrupt good manners. God saith, evil company will turn thee away from following him, and will tempt thee to serve other gods, devils. “So the anger of the Lord will be kindled against you, and destroy thee suddenly.” (Deu 7:4) (4.) Beware of such a thought as bids thee delay repentance, for that is damnable. (Prov 1:24, Zech 7:12,13) (5.) Beware of taking example by some poor, carnal professor, whose religion lies in the tip of his tongue. Beware, I say, of the man whose head swims with notions, but “his life is among the unclean.” (Job 36:14) “He that walketh with wise men shall be wise; but a companion of fools shall be destroyed.” (Prov 13:20) (6.) Give thyself much to the Word, and prayer, and good conference. (7.) Labour to see the sin that cleaveth to the best of thy performances, and know that all is nothing if thou be not found in Jesus Christ. (8.) Keep in remembrance that God’s eye is upon thy heart, and upon all thy ways. “Can any hide himself in secret places that I shall not see him? saith the Lord. Do not I fill heaven and earth? saith the Lord.” (Jer 23:24) (9.) Be often meditating upon death and judgment. (Eccl 11:9, 12:14) (10.) Be often thinking what a dreadful end sinners that have neglected Christ will make at that day of death and judgment. (Heb 10:31) (11.) Put thyself often, in thy thoughts, before Christ’s judgment-seat, in thy sins, and consider with thyself, Were I now before my Judge, how should I look, how should I shake and tremble? (12.) Be often thinking of them that are now in hell, past all mercy; I say, be often thinking of them, thus: They were once in the world, as I now am; they once took delight in sin, as I have done; they once neglected repentance, as Satan would have me do. But now they are gone; now they are in hell, now the pit hath shut her mouth upon them!

Thou mayest also doubt [18] thy thoughts of the damned thus: If these poor creatures were in the world again, would they sin as they did before? would they neglect salvation as they did before? If they had sermons, as I have; if they had the Bible, as I have; if they had good company, as I have; yea, if they had a day of grace, as I have, would they neglect it as they did before?

Sinner, couldst thou soberly think of these things, they might help, God blessing them, to awaken thee, and to keep thee awake to repentance, to the repentance that is to salvation, never to be repented of.

Object. But you have said few shall be saved; and some that go a great way, yet are not saved. At this, therefore, I am even discouraged and weakened; I think I had as good go no further. I am, indeed, under conviction, but I may perish; and if I go on in my sins, I can but perish; and it is ten, twenty, and an hundred to one if I be saved, should I be ever so earnest for heaven.

Answ. That few will be saved must needs be a truth, for Christ hath said it; that many go far, and come short of heaven, is as true, being testified by the same hand. But what then? “Why, then had I as good never seek.” Who told thee so? Must nobody seek because few are saved? This is just contrary to the text, that bids us therefore strive; strive to enter in, because the gate is strait, and because many will seek to enter in, and shall not be able. But why go back again, seeing that is the next way to hell? Never go over hedge and ditch to hell. If I must needs go thither, I will go the furthest way about. But who can tell, though there should not be saved so many as there shall, but thou mayest be one of that few? They that miss of life perish, because they will not let go their sins, or because they take up a profession short of the saving faith of the gospel. They perish, I say, because they are content with such things as will not prove graces of a saving nature when they come to be tried in the fire. Otherwise, the promise is free, and full, and everlasting—“Him that cometh to me,” saith Christ, “I will in no wise cast out”; “for God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 6:37, 3:16) Wherefore let not this thought, Few shall be saved, weaken thy heart; but let it cause thee to mend thy pace, to mend thy cries, to look well to thy grounds for heaven; let it make thee fly faster from sin to Christ; let it keep thee awake, and out of carnal security, and thou mayest be saved.

[USE THIRD.]—My third word is to professors. Sirs, give me leave to set my trumpet to your ears again a little. When every man hath put in all the claim they can for heaven, but few will have it for their inheritance; I mean but few professors, for so the text intendeth, and so I have also proved. “For many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able.” Let me, therefore, a little expostulate the matter with you, O ye thousands of professors!

1. I begin with you whose religion lieth only in your tongues; I mean you who are little or nothing known from the rest of the rabble of the world, only you can talk better than they. Hear me a word or two. If “I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity,” that is, love to God, and Christ, and saints, and holiness, “I am nothing”; no child of God, and so have nothing to do with heaven. (1 Cor 13:1,2) A prating tongue will not unlock the gates of haven, nor blind the eyes of the Judge. Look to it. “The wise in heart will receive commandments; but a prating fool shall fall.” [19] (Prov 10:8)

2. Covetous professor, thou that makest a gain of religion, that usest thy profession to bring grist to thy mill, look to it also. Gain is not godliness. Judas’ religion lay much in the bag, but his soul is now burning in hell. All covetousness is idolatry; but what is that, or what will you call it, when men are religious for filthy lucre’s sake? (Eze 33:31)

3. Wanton professors, I have a word for you; I mean you that can tell how to misplead Scripture, to maintain your pride, your banqueting, and abominable idolatry. Read what Peter says. You are the snare and damnation of others. You “allure through the lust of the flesh, through much wantonness, those that were clean escaped from them who live in error.” (2 Peter 2:18) Besides, the Holy Ghost hath a great deal against you, for your feastings, and eating without fear, not for health, but gluttony. (Jude 12) Further, Peter says, that you that count it pleasure to riot in the day-time are spots and blemishes, sporting yourselves with your own deceivings. (2 Peter 2:13) And let me ask, Did God give his Word to justify your wickedness? or doth grace teach you to plead for the flesh, or the making provision for the lusts thereof? Of these also are they that feed their bodies to strengthen their lusts, under pretence of strengthening frail nature. But pray, remember the text, “Many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able.”

4. I come next to the opinionist; I mean, to him whose religion lieth in some circumstantials of religion. With this sort this kingdom swarms at this day. These think all out of the way that are not of their mode, when themselves may be out of the way in the midst of their zeal for their opinions. Pray, do you also observe the text; “Many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able.”

5. Neither is the formalist exempted from this number. He is a man that hath lost all but the shell of religion. He is hot, indeed, for his form; and no marvel, for that is his all to contend for. But his form being without the power and spirit of godliness, it will leave him in his sins; nay, he standeth now in them in the sight of God, and is one of the many that “will seek to enter in, and shall not be able.” (2 Tim 3:5)

6. The legalist comes next, even him that hath no life but what he makes out of his duties. This man hath chosen to stand or fall by Moses, who is the condemner of the world. “There is one that accuseth you, even Moses, in whom ye trust.” (John 5:45)

7. There is, in the next place, the libertine—he that pretendeth to be against forms and duties, as things that gender to bondage, neglecting the order of God. This man pretends to pray always, but, under that pretence, prays not at all; he pretends to keep every day a Sabbath, but this pretence serves him only to cast off all set times for the worship of God. This is also one of the many that “will seek to enter in, and shall not be able.” (Titus 1:16)

8. There is the temporizing latitudinarian. He is a man that hath no God but his belly, nor any religion but that by which his belly is worshipped. His religion is always, like the times, turning this way and that way, like the cock on the steeple; neither hath he any conscience but a benumbed and seared one, and is next door to a downright atheist; and also is one of the many that “will seek to enter in, and shall not be able.”

9. There is also the willfully ignorant professor, or him that is afraid to know more, for fear of the cross. He is for picking and choosing of truth, and loveth not to hazard his all for that worthy name by which he would be called. When he is at any time overset by arguments, or awakenings of conscience, he uses to heal all by—I was not brought up in this faith; as if it were unlawful for Christians to know more than hath been taught them at first conversion. There are many Scriptures that lie against his man, as the mouths of great guns, and he is one of the many that “will seek to enter in, and shall not be able.”

10. We will add to all these, the professor that would prove himself a Christian, by comparing himself with others, instead of comparing himself with the Word of God. This man comforts himself, because he is as holy as such and such; he also knows as such as that old professor, and then concludes he shall go to heaven: as if he certainly knew, that those with whom he compareth himself would be undoubtedly saved; but how if he should be mistaken? nay, may they not both fall short? But to be sure he is in the wrong that hath made the comparison; and a wrong foundation will not stand in the day of judgment. (2 Cor 10:12) This man, therefore, is one of the many that “will seek to enter in, and shall not be able.”

11. There is yet another professor; and he is for God and for Baal too; he can be anything for any company; he can throw stones with both hands; his religion alters as fast as his company; he is a frog of Egypt, and can live in the water and out of the water; he can live in religious company, and again as well out. Nothing that is disorderly comes amiss to him; he will hold with the hare, and run with the hound; he carries fire in the one hand, and water in the other; he is a very anything but what he should be. This is also one of the many that “will seek to enter in, and shall not be able.” [20]

12. There is also that free-willer, who denies to the Holy Ghost the sole work in conversion; and that Socinian, who denieth to Christ that he hath made to God satisfaction for sin; and that Quaker, who takes from Christ the two natures in his person: and I might add as many more, touching whose damnation, they dying as they are, the Scripture is plain: these “will seek to enter in, and shall not be able.” But,

[USE FOURTH.]—If it be so, what a strange disappointment will many professors meet with at the day of judgment! I speak not now to the open profane; everybody, as I have said, that hath but common understanding between good and evil, knows that they are in the broad way to hell and damnation, and they must needs come thither; nothing can hinder it but repentance unto salvation, except God should prove a liar to save them, and it is hard venturing of that.

Neither is it amiss, if we take notice of the examples that are briefly mentioned in the Scriptures, concerning professors that have miscarried. 1. Judas perished from among the apostles. (Acts 1) 2. Demas, as I think, perished from among the evangelists. (2 Tim 4:10) 3. Diotrephes from among the ministers, or them in office in the church. (3 John 9) 4. And s for Christian professors, they have fallen by heaps, and almost by whole churches. (2 Tim 1:15, Rev 3:4,15-17) 5. Let us add to these, that the things mentioned in the Scriptures about these matters, are but brief hints and items of what is afterwards to happen; as the apostle said, “Some men’s sins are open beforehand, going before to judgment; and some men they follow after.” (1 Tim 5:24)

So that, fellow-professors, let us fear, lest a promise being left us of entering into this rest, any of us should seem to come short of it. O! to come short! nothing kills like it, nothing will burn like it. I intend not discouragements, but awakenings; the churches have need of awakening, and so have all professors. Do not despise me, therefore, but hear me over again. What a strange disappointment will many professors meet with at the day of God Almighty!—a disappointment, I say, and that as to several things.

(1.) They will look to escape hell, and yet fall just into the mouth of hell: what a disappointment will be here! (2.) They will look for heaven, but the gate of heaven will be shut against them: what a disappointment is here! (3.) They will expect that Christ should have compassion for them, but will find that he hath shut up all bowels of compassion form them: what a disappointment is here! Again,

[USE FIFTH.]—As this disappointment will be fearful, so certainly it will be very full of amazement.

1. Will it not amaze them to be unexpectedly excluded from life and salvation? 2. Will it not be amazing to them to see their own madness and folly, while they consider how they have dallied with their own souls, and took lightly for granted that they had that grace that would save them, but hath left them in a damnable state? 3. Will they not also be amazed one at another, while they remember how in their lifetime they counted themselves fellow-heirs of life? To allude to that of the prophet, “They shall be amazed one at another, their faces shall be as flames.” (Isa 13:8) 4. Will it not be amazing to some of the damned themselves, to see some come to hell that then they shall see come thither? to see preachers of the Word, professors of the Word, practisers in the Word, to come thither. What wondering was there among them at the fall of the king of Babylon, since he thought to have swallowed up all, because he was run down by the Medes and Persians! “How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How art thou cut down to the ground which didst weaken the nations!” If such a thing as this will with amazement surprise the damned, what an amazement will it be to them to see such a one as he whose head reached to the clouds, to see him come down to the pit, and perish for ever like his own dung. “Hell from beneath is moved for thee, to meet thee at thy coming; it stirreth up the dead for thee, even all the chief ones of the earth.” (Isa 14) They that see thee shall narrowly look upon thee, and consider thee, saying, Is this the man? Is this he that professed, and disputed, and forsook us; but now he is come to us again? Is this he that separated from us, but now he is fallen with us into the same eternal damnation with us?

[USE SIXTH.]—Yet again, one word more, if I may awaken professors. Consider, though the poor carnal world shall certainly perish, yet they will want these things to aggravate their sorrow, which thou wilt meet with in every thought that thou wilt have of the condition thou wast in when thou wast in the world.

1. They will not have a profession, to bite them when they come thither. 2. They will not have a taste of a lost heaven, to bite them when they come thither. 3. They will not have the thoughts of, “I was almost at heaven,” to bite them when they come thither. 4. They will not have the thoughts of, how they cheated saints, ministers, churches, to bite them when they come thither. 5. They will not have the dying thoughts of false faith, false hope, false repentance, and false holiness, to bite them when they come thither. I was at the gates of heaven, I looked into heaven, I thought I should have entered into heaven; O how will these things sting! They will, if I may call them so, be the sting of the sting of death in hell-fire.

[USE SEVENTH.]—Give me leave now in a word to give you a little advice.

1. Dost thou love thine own soul? then pray to Jesus Christ for an awakened heart, for a heart so awakened with all the things of another world, that thou mayest be allured to Jesus Christ. 2. When thou comest there, beg again for more awakenings about sin, hell, grace, and about the righteousness of Christ. 3. Cry also for a spirit of discerning, that thou mayest know that which is saving grace indeed. 4. Above all studies apply thyself to the study of those things that show thee the evil of sin, the shortness of man’s life, and which is the way to be saved. 5. Keep company with the most godly among professors. 6. When thou hearest what the nature of true grace is, defer not to ask thine own heart if this grace be there. And here take heed—

(1.) That the preacher himself be sound, and of good life. (2.) That thou takest not seeming graces for real ones, nor seeming fruits for real fruits. (3.) Take heed that a sin in thy life goes not unrepented of; for that will make a flaw in thine evidence, a wound in thy conscience, and a breach in thy peace; and a hundred to one, if at last it doth not drive all the grace in thee into so dark a corner of thy heart, that thou shalt not be able, for a time, by all the torches that are burning in the gospel, to find it out to thine own comfort and consolation. [21]

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14 Lowth’s translation of this passage in Isaiah 6:13 not only confirms Bunyan, but exhibits his view in a more prominent light:—“And though there be a tenth part remaining in it, even this shall undergo a repeated destruction; yet as the ilex and the oak, though cut down, hath its stock remaining, a holy seed shall be the stock of the nation.”—Ed. [back]

15 How solemn the thought—there is but little wheat in comparison with all the grass and vegetable produce of the earth; and in the harvest how much chaff and straw, which grew with the wheat, will be cast out! Well may it be said, Look to it, professors.—Ed. [back]

16 The word “faith” was changed in 1737 for “repentance,” which has been continued in subsequent editions; “faith” is right. Awakenings and repentance are classed together under the first head, and faith under the second.—Ed. [back]

17 Many readers will cry out, Who then can be saved? Without charity, or the love of Christ in the heart, all faith and works are but dross. Love is the touchstone of faith and works—not to glorify ourselves, but him who has bought us with his own most precious blood. Carry the solemn inquiry to the throne of grace, Have I passed from death unto life? for whosoever thus liveth believeth in Christ, and amidst the fatal wreck of professors, he shall never die.—Ed. [back]

18 “To doubt”; to suspect, make a question of, reconsider.—Ed. [back]

19 When Talkative asked Faithful what difference there is between crying out against and abhorring sin, he answered, “O! a great deal; a man may cry out against sin of policy, but he cannot abhor it but by virtue of a godly antipathy against it. I have heard many cry out against sin in the pulpit, who yet can abide it well enough in the heart, house, and conversation.”— Pilgrim’s Progress. [back]

20 Similar to By-ends who never strove for heaven against wind or weather; was most zealous when religion walked in his silver slippers, and walked with him in the streets, while the sun shone, and people applauded him.—Pilgrim’s Progress. [back]

21 The striving inculcated in this treatise reminds us of Hopkins’ bold appeal to conscience. He says, “There must be a holy roughness and violence, to break through all that stands in our way; neither caring for allurements, nor fearing opposition, but by a pious obstinacy and frowardness, we must thrust away the one and bear down the other. This is the Christian who will carry heaven by force, when the whining pusillanimous professor, who only complains of difficulty, but never attempts to conquer it, will be for ever shut out!”—Ed. [back]

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