Archives For Salvation by Grace Alone

Narrow_Way

  

Alexander Whyte on the Narrow Way           

        

  “The gatekeeper could not say that the way to the Celestial City was anything other than a narrow, a stringent, heart-searching way.  There are many wide ways to Hell, and many there be who crowd them, but there is only one way to heaven….. Strive, He says, strive every day.  For many shall seek to enter into the way of salvation, but because they do not early enough, and long enough, and painfully enough strive, they come short, and are shut out…… Does  your religion cause you any real effort–Christ calls it agony? … What cross do you take up everyday?  In what thing do you everyday deny yourself?  Name it!  Put your finger on it.  Write it in the margin of your Bible.  Do you have any fear and trembling in the work of your salvation?  If not, there is something wrong”

Jonathan Edwards

“Almost all that is said in the New Testament of men’s watching, giving earnest heed to themselves, running the race that is set before them, striving and agonizing, fighting, putting on the whole armor of God, pressing forward, reaching forth, crying to God day and night; I say, almost all that we have in the New Testament on these subjects is spoken and directed to the saints.  Where those things are applied to sinners seeking salvation once, they are spoken of the saints prosecution of their salvation ten times.”

 

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Goodwill: But did none of them follow you, to persuade you to go back?

Christian: Yes, both Obstinate and Pliable; but when they saw that they could not prevail, Obstinate went railing back; but Pliable came with me a little way.

Goodwill: But why did he not come through?

Christian: We indeed came both together until we came to the Slough of Despond, into the which we also suddenly fell. And then was my neighbor Pliable discouraged, and would not venture farther. Wherefore, getting out again on the side next to his own house, he told me I should possess the brave country alone for him: so he went his way, and I came mine; he after Obstinate, and I to this gate.

Goodwill: Then said Goodwill, Alas, poor man; is the celestial glory of so little esteem with him, that he counteth it not worth running the hazard of a few difficulties to obtain it?

Christian: Truly, said Christian, I have said the truth of Pliable; and if I should also say all the truth of myself, it will appear there is no betterment betwixt him and myself. It is true, he went back to his own house, but I also turned aside to go in the way of death, being persuaded thereto by the carnal arguments of one Mr. Worldly Wiseman.

Goodwill: Oh, did he light upon you? What, he would have had you seek for ease at the hands of Mr. Legality! They are both of them a very cheat. But did you take his counsel?

Christian: Yes, as far as I durst. I went to find out Mr. Legality, until I thought that the mountain that stands by his house would have fallen upon my head; wherefore there I was forced to stop.

Goodwill: That mountain has been the death of many, and will be the death of many more: it is well you escaped being by it dashed in pieces.

Christian: Why truly I do not know what had become of me there, had not Evangelist happily met me again as I was musing in the midst of my dumps; but it was God’s mercy that he came to me again, for else I had never come hither. But now I am come, such a one as I am, more fit indeed for death by that mountain, than thus to stand talking with my Lord. But O, what a favor is this to me, that yet I am admitted entrance here!

Goodwill: We make no objections against any, notwithstanding all that they have done before they come hither; they in no wise are cast out. John 6:37. And therefore good Chris- tian, come a little way with me, and I will teach thee about the way thou must go. Look before thee; dost thou see this narrow way? That is the way thou must go. It was cast up by the patriarchs, prophets, Christ, and his apostles, and it is as strait as a rule can make it; this is the way thou must go.

Christian: But, said Christian, are there no turnings nor windings, by which a stranger may lose his way?

Goodwill: Yes, there are many ways butt down upon this, and they are crooked and wide: but thus thou mayest distinguish the right from the wrong, the right only being strait and narrow. Matt 7:14

Then I saw in my dream, that Christian asked him further, if he could not help him off with his burden that was upon his back. For as yet he had not got rid thereof; nor could he by any means get it off without help.

He told him, “As to thy burden, be content to bear it until thou comest to the place of deliverance; for there it will fall from thy back of itself.”

Then Christian began to gird up his loins, and to address himself to his journey. So the other told him, that by that he was gone some distance from the gate, he would come to the house of the Interpreter, at whose door he should knock, and he would show him excellent things. Then Christian took his leave of his friend, and he again bid him God speed.

Psalm 108:12   Oh give us help against the adversary,  For deliverance  by man is in vain.

Wicket.GateThen did Christian address himself to go back; and Evangelist, after he had kissed him, gave him one smile, and bid him God speed; So he went on with haste, neither spake he to any man by the way; nor if any asked him, would he vouchsafe them an answer. He went like one that was all the while treading on forbidden ground, and could by no means think himself safe, till again he was got into the way which he had left to follow Mr. Worldly Wiseman’s counsel. So, in process of time, Christian got up to the (wicket) gate. Now, over the gate there was written, “Knock, and it shall be opened unto you.” Matt. 7:7

He knocked, therefore, more than once or twice, saying,

“May I now enter here? Will he within Open to sorry me, though I have been
An undeserving rebel? Then shall I
Not fail to sing his lasting praise on high.”

At last there came a grave person to the gate, named Goodwill, who asked who was there, and whence he came, and what he would have.

Christian: Here is a poor burdened sinner. I come from the city of Destruction, but am going to Mount Zion, that I may be delivered from the wrath to come; I would therefore, sir, since I am informed that by this gate is the way thither, know if you are willing to let me in.

Goodwill: I am willing with all my heart, said he; and with that he opened the gate.

So when Christian was stepping in, the other gave him a pull. Then said Christian, What means that? The other told him, A little distance from this gate there is erected a strong castle, of which Beelzebub is the captain: from thence both he and they that are with him, shoot arrows at those that come up to this gate, if haply they may die before they can enter in. Then said Christian, I rejoice and tremble. So when he was got in, the man of the Gate asked him who directed him thither.

Christian: Evangelist bid me come hither and knock, as I did: and he said, that you, sir, would tell me what I must do.

Goodwill: An open door is set before thee, and no man can shut it.

Christian: Now I begin to reap the benefits of my hazards.
Goodwill: But how is it that you came alone?
Christian: Because none of my neighbors saw their danger as I saw mine. Goodwill: Did any of them know of your coming?

Christian: Yes, my wife and children saw me at the first, and called after me to turn again: also, some of my neighbors stood crying and calling after me to return; but I put my fingers in my ears, and so came on my way. Wicket Gate

Obstinate and Pliable

Bunyan —  February 10, 2014 — Leave a comment

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Obstinate: What, said Obstinate, and leave our friends and our comforts behind us!

Christian: Yes, said Christian, (for that was his name,) because that all which you forsake is not worthy to be compared with a little of that I am seeking to enjoy,  and if you will go along with me, and hold it, you shall fare as I myself; for there, where I go, is enough and to spare. Come away, and prove my words.

Obstinate: What are the things you seek, since you leave all the world to find them?

 

Christian: I seek an inheritance incorruptible, undefiled, and that fadeth not away; and it is laid up in heaven, and safe there, to be bestowed, at the time appointed, on them that diligently seek it. Read it so, if you will, in my book.

Obstinate: Tush, said Obstinate, away with your book; will you go back with us or no?

Christian: No, not I, said the other, because I have laid my hand to the plough. 

04 Obstinate

2 Cor. 4:18; Luke 15:17; 1 Pter 1:14; Heb. 11:16; Luke 9:62; Heb. 9:17-21  Obstinate: Come then, neighbor Pliable, let us turn again, and go home without him: there is a company of these crazy-headed coxcombs, that when they take a fancy by the end, are wiser in their own eyes than seven men that can render a reason.
Pliable: Then said Pliable, Don’t revile; if what the good Christian says is true, the things he looks after are better than ours: my heart inclines to go with my neighbor. Obstinate: What, more fools still! Be ruled by me, and go back; who knows whither such a brain-sick fellow will lead you? Go back, go back, and be wise.
Christian: Nay, but do thou come with thy neighbor Pliable; there are such things to be had which I spoke of, and many more glories besides. If you believe not me, read here in this book, and for the truth of what is expressed therein, behold, all is confirmed by the blood of Him that made it.
Pliable: Well, neighbor Obstinate, said Pliable, I begin to come to a point; I intend to go along with this good man, and to cast in my lot with him: but, my good companion, do you know the way to this desired place? Christian: I am directed by a man whose name is Evangelist, to speed me to a little gate that is before us, where we shall receive instructions about the way. Pliable: Come then, good neighbor, let us be going. Then they went both together. Obstinate: And I will go back to my place, said Obstinate: I will be no companion of such misled, fantastical fellows.

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Obstinate is Stubborn, inflexible, worldly, self-willed, scornful, abusive and hard hearted.

He represents those who oppose the gospel and ultimately reject it.  Mark 4:3-4, Acts 17:22

Alexander Whyte “ Little Obstinate was born in the city of destruction. His father was old spare-the-rod, and his mothers name was spoil-the-child. Little Obstinate was the only child of his parents…….they gave him his way in everything. Everything he asked for, he got, and if he did not immediately get it, you would have heard his screams and kicks 3 house down”

Evangelist Shows the way

Bunyan —  February 6, 2014 — 1 Comment

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Now I noticed on a particular occasion, when he was walking in the fields, that he was (according to his habit) reading in his book, and greatly distressed in his mind; and as he read, he burst out, as he had done before, crying, “What shall I do to be saved?”

 

I also saw that he looked this way and that way, as if he would run; yet he stood still because, as I perceived, he could not tell which way to go. I then looked and saw a man named Evangelist coming to him who asked, “For what reason are you crying?” He answered, “Sir, I understand by the book in my hand that I am condemned to die, and after that to come to judgment;and I find that I am not willing to do the first,nor able to do the second.

 

Then said Evangelist, “Why are you not willing to die since this life is accompanied with so many evils?” The man answered, “Because I fear that this burden that is upon my back will sink me lower than the grave; and I shall fall into Tophet.And sir, if I am not fit to go to prison, I am quite sure I am not fit to go to judgment, and as a consequence to execution; and the thoughts of these things make me cry.”

   Then said Evangelist, “If this is your condition, then why are you standing still?” He answered, “Because I do not know which way to go.” Then Evangelist gave him a parchment

scroll on which was written within, “Fly from the wrath to come.”

 

Therefore the man read the scroll, and looking upon Evangelist very carefully, said, “Which way must I go to escape?” Then said Evangelist, pointing with his finger beyond a very large field, “Do you see a Wicket-gate over there?” The man replied, “No.” Then he was asked, “Do you see a shining lightnot quite so far away?” He said, “I think I do.” Then said Evangelist, “Keep that light before your eye, and go directly toward it, and then you shall see the gate, at which, when you knock, you will be told what you are to do.


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There is one book in our language, with which the Pilgrim’s Progress may be compared, as a reality with a theory, a personification with an abstraction, and that is Edwards on the Religious Affections. This book is the work of a holy, but rigid metaphysician, analyzing and anatomizing the soul, laying the heart bare, and, I had almost said, drying it for a model. As you study it, you know it is truth, and you know that your own heart ought to be like it; but you cannot recognize in it your own flesh and blood…

Jonathan Edwards--Religious Affections--2

“…Edwards’ delineations are like the skeleton leaves of the forest, through which, if you hold them to the sun, you can see every minute fiber in the light; Bunyan’s work is like the same leaves as fresh foliage, green and glossy in the sunshine, joyfully whispering to the breathing air, with now and then the dense rain-drops glittering on them from a June shower. In Edwards’ work you see the Divine life in its abstract severity and perfection; in Bunyan’s work you see it assuming a visible form, like your own, with your own temptations and trials, touched with the feeling, and colored with the shade of your own infirmities. Yet both these books are well-nigh perfect in their way, both equally adapted to their purpose.

          

 “We love the work of Bunyan as a bosom friend, a sociable confiding companion on our pilgrimage. We revere the work of Edwards, as a deep, grave teacher, but its stern accuracy makes us tremble. Bunyan encourages, consoles, animates, delights, sympathizes with us; Edwards cross-examines, probes, scrutinizes, alarms us. Bunyan looks on us as a sweet angel, as one of his own shining ones, come to take off our burden, and put on our robe; Edwards, as a sort of military surveyor of the king’s roads, meets us with his map, and shows us how we have wandered from the way, and makes us feel as if we never were in it”

 

200px-Pilgrim's_Progress_first_edition_1678Although this classic was written between 1660-1672 while Bunyan was in prison, it was not published until 1678.  Humble Bunyan wanted to get the input of other pastors and church leaders before finalizing and publishing.

Immediately it was a bestseller and by the time of Bunyan’s death in 1688, it went through 13 editions!

This book has been loved by many over the last 300+ years, and has been translated into nearly 200 languages.

It was not written as a children’s book, nor for academic study.  Nor was it written as a sort of moral novel.

Yet it is still very popular among young and old, reformed and non reformed and in literature classes.

 

machenDr. Gresham Machen “That tenderest and most theological of books, the Pilgrims Progress of John Bunyan, …. that is pulsating with life and in every word”

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Spurgeon: Reading anything of his (Bunyan’s) and you will see that it is almost like reading the bible itself.  He had studied our Authorized Version.  He read it until his whole being was saturated with Scripture; ….

His Pilgrims Progress makes us feel and say ‘Why this man is a living bible!’  Prick him anywhere; and you will find that his blood is Bibline, the very essence of the bible flows through him.  He cannot speak without quoting a text, for his soul is full of the Word of God.

Pilgrim.BannerThis is one of the most common questions I get asked.  Therefore before we begin our pilgrimage with John Bunyan through the Pilgrims Progress, I thought it would be good to say a word about various editions available.  First of all, though the original language used can be difficult in places for a person not familiar, it is rich and worth the effort to learn.  There have been many attempts at abridging the text, and many have gone so far, that the overall message is changed.  There have been some decent ones over the years as well.

I have listed a few options below.  Click the highlighted links to view the book

1. If you are on a limited budget, HERE is an inexpensive paper back that contains the full text.

2. I recommend that you get this nice hardback DELUXE edition.  Quality binding.

This deluxe edition of Bunyan’s great work comes as near as possible to the ‘ideal’- with the original marginal notes and references from Scripture, both parts of the Progress, and a series of magnificent and evocative etchings by William Strang.

3.  For young children, I recommend Dangerous Journey

However, when your children reach 6th grade (or before), they should be reading the full text.

May the Lord bless each of you as you sincerely seek to Glorify Him on this journey!

-Bunyan