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Works of John Bunyan — Volume 03
It is sad to see how the most of men neglect their precious souls, turning their backs upon the glorious gospel, and little minding a crucified Jesus, when, in the meanwhile, their bodies are well provided for, their estates much regarded, and the things of this present life are highly prized, as if the darling was of less value than a clod of earth; an immortal soul, than a perishing body; a precious Saviour, than unsatisfying creatures. Yea, though they have been often wooed with gracious entreaties, glorious promises, and fresh bleeding wounds, to make choice of the better part, that shall never be taken from them; yet, alas! such influence hath this world, and the pleasures of it, and such is the blindness of their understandings, that they continue still to hunt after those things which cannot profit, nor be a help to them in the worst hour. Yea, that will prove no better than poison to their souls, and refuse that would be (if embraced) their happiness here, and their glory hereafter. Such a strange stupidity hath seized upon the hearts of men, that they will venture the loss of their immortal souls for a few dying comforts, and will expose themselves to endless misery for a moment's mirth, and short-lived pleasures. But, certainly, a barn well fraught, a bag well filled, a back well clothed, and a body well fed, will prove but poor comforts when men come to die, when death shall not only separate their souls from their bodies, but both from their comforts. What will it then avail them that they have gained much? Or what will they give in exchange for their souls? Be wise, then (O reader, to whose sight this may come), before it be too late, and thou repent, when repentance shall be hid from thine eyes; also it will be as a dagger to thine heart one day, to remember what a Christ, what a soul, what a heaven thou hast lost for a few pleasures, a little mirth, a short enjoyment of this present world; yea, and that after many warnings against many reproofs, and, notwithstanding the many tenders of a full Christ, instead of those empty vanities which thy soul closed with, hunted after, and would by no means be persuaded to part withal. No, but thou wouldst take thy time, and swim in this world's delights, though thy soul thereby was drowned in perdition and destruction (1 Tim 6:9). True, few there are that will be persuaded that this course they take, though their daily conversations do bear witness to it; for how much time is spent, and how much care is the hearts of men filled withal, after attaining, keeping, and increasing these things? And how seldom do they trouble their heads, to have their minds taken up with thoughts of the better? Cumbering themselves with many things, but wholly neglecting the one thing necessary; yea, whereby do they measure their own or other men's happiness, but by the large incomes of this world's good, accounting this the greatest, if not the only blessedness, to have their corn, wine, and oil increase in abundance, and reckoning those that are most serious about, and earnest after the world to come, men of foolish spirits, giddy brains, and worthy to be branded in the forehead for simple deluded ones. But surely he is the most fool that will be one at last; and he that God calls so (Luke 12:20) will pass for one in the end; yea, within a short time, they themselves shall change their notes. Ask the rich man spoken of in the ensuing treatise, who was the foolhe or Lazarus? and he will soon resolve the question, that he now sees, and by woeful experience finds (whatsoever his former thoughts were), that he, not Lazarus, was the silly deluded one; for he, fool-like, preferred the worse things before the better, and refused that which once might have been had; but now he hath slipped the time, it cannot be gained, when this poor man, knowing the day of his visitation, was making sure of that glory which he now enjoys, and shall enjoy for evermore. So that in this parable (if I may so call it) thou shalt find that Scripture confirmed, 'That the triumphing of the wicked is short' (Job 20:5). Together with that, 'That the temptations (or afflictions) of the righteous, which cause heaviness, are but for a season' (1 Peter 1:6). And in this treatise, both of these are largely opened and explained. Behold, here a rich man clothed in silks, fed with delicates, and faring deliciously every day; but look a little farther, and lo! this man clothed with vengeance, roaring under torments, and earnestly begging for a drop of water to cool his tongue; a sad change. On the other hand, here thou shalt see a poor, but a gracious man, with a pinched belly, naked back, and running sores, begging at the rich man's gate for a morsel to feed his belly, a sad state, yet but short; for look again, and behold this beggar gloriously carried, as in a chariot of triumph, by the angels into Abraham's bosom, shining in glory, clothed with beautiful garments, and his soul set down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of the Father; his rags are gone, his sores healed, and his soul filled with joy unspeakable, and full of glory; the one carried not his costly fare, and his gorgeous apparel with him into hell; nor the other his coarse diet, mouldy bread, filthy rags, and ulcerous body into heaven; but the happiness of the one, and the misery of the other, took their leaves at the grave; the worldly man's portion was but for his life, and the godly man's afflictions lasted no longer; 'For mark the perfect, and behold the upright, for the end of that man is peace; but the end of the wicked shall be cut off' (Psa 37:37,38). His present comforts, his future hopes, and his cursed soul together; yea, though he lives many days, and rejoices in them all, yet the days of darkness will overtake him, and his eye shall see no more good; in his life time he enjoyed his good things, and, at the hour of death, legions of devils will beset him, innumerable evils will befal him; and then shall he pay full dear for all the pleasures of sin, that have carried away his heart from closing with, and following the Lord in the day of his prosperity. Ungodly men, because they feel no changes now, they fear none hereafter, but flatter themselves with dying as the godly, though their life is consumed in wickedness, and their strength in providing for and satisfying the lusts of the flesh. But as it fared with wicked Balaam, so shall it fare with these, and their vain hopes will prove a feeding upon ashes through their deceived heart, that hath turned them aside (Isa 44:20). 'For they that sow to the flesh, shall of the flesh reap corruption' (Gal 6:8). 'And they that plough iniquity, and sow wickedness, shall reap the same' (Job 4:8; Hosea 8:7). But they that sow to the Spirit, shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. Say ye then to the righteous, 'It shall go well with him; however it goes with him now, a few days will produce a happy change.' 'It shall go well with him that feareth the Lord' (Eccl 8:12). Go on then, O soul, thou that hast set thy face towards heaven, though the east wind beats upon thee, and thou find trouble and sorrow; these shall endure but for a night, joy will undoubtedly come in the morning; besides those sweet visits thou shalt have from thy precious Saviour, in this thy day of darkness, wait but a while, and thy darkness shall be turned into light. 'When the light of the wicked shall be put out, and the spark of his fire, wherewith he warmed himself, shall not shine' (Job 18:5). 'Grudge not to see the wicked prosper, and their steps washed with butter, but rather put on bowels of mercy and pity, as the elect of God, knowing that they are set in slippery places' (Psa 73:18). And their day is coming, when fearful horror shall surprise them, and hell be opened to receive them; nor yet be disquieted in thy mind, that troubles and afflictions do beset thee round; for, as a worser thing is reserved for them, so a better is prepared for thee. Do they drink wine in bowls? and dost thou mingle thy tears with thy drink? Do they live in pleasures, and spend their days in wealth? and dost thou sigh and mourn in secret? Well, there is a cup for them in the hand of the Lord, the wine whereof is red, and full of mixture, which they must drink up the dregs (Psa 75:8). And the Lord hath a bottle for thy tears (Psa 56:8). And a book for thy secret sighs, and ere long thy brinish tears shall be turned into the sweetest wine, which thou shalt drink new in the kingdom of the Father, and thy secret sighs into glorious praises; when thy mouth shall be filled with laughter, and thy eyes see the King in his glory. Now, considering that these lines may be brought to the sight both of the one sort and the other, I shall lay a few things before the thought of each; and first to the worser sort. First. Consider what an ill bargain thou wilt make, to sell thy precious soul for short continuance in thy sins and pleasures. If that man drives but an ill trade, who, to gain the world, should lose his soul (Matt 16:26), then, certainly, thou art far worse that sells thy soul for a very trifle. O it is pity that so precious a thing should be parted withal, to be made a prey for the devouring lion, for that which is worse than nothing! If they were branded for desperate wretches that caused their children to pass through the fire to Moloch, surely thou much more that gives thy soul to devouring flames, to be fuel for the everlasting fire, upon so unfit terms; what meanest thou, O man, to truck with the devils? Is there no better merchandise to trade in than what comes from hell, or out of the bowels of the earth? and to be had upon no lower rates than thy immortal soul? Yes, surely the merchandise of wisdom, which is better than the merchandise of silver, and the gain thereof than fine gold (Prov 3:14, 8:19), is exposed to sale (Rev 3:18), and to be had without money or price; and if thou shouldest part with anything for it, it is such that it is better to part withal than to keep. The wise merchant that sought a goodly pearl, having found one, sold all that he had, not himself, not his soul, and all that he sold was in itself not worth a farthing, and yet obtained the pearl (Matt 13:45,46). Paul made the like exchange when he threw away his own righteousness, which was but rags, yea, filthy rags (Isa 64:6), and put on the garment of salvation, and cast away to the dunghill that which was once his gain, and won Christ (Phil 3:8). Thou needest not cast away thy soul for puddle pleasures; behold the fountain of living water is set open, and thou invited to it, to take and drink thy belly, thy soul full, without price or money (Isa 55:2). ......Buy Now (To Read More)
Ebook Number: 6048
Author: Bunyan, John
Release Date: Jul 1, 2004
Editor: Offor, George, 1787-1864
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