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The Heavenly Footman   By: (1628-1688)

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THE HEAVENLY FOOTMAN

or, A Description of the Man That Gets to Heaven: with Directions How to Run So As to Obtain

by

JOHN BUNYAN

"So run, that ye may obtain." 1 Cor. IX. 24.

THE AUTHOR'S EPISTLE TO ALL SLOTHFUL AND CARELESS PEOPLE.

Friends,

Solomon saith, that "the desire of the slothful killeth him;" and if so, what will slothfulness itself do to those that entertain it? The proverb is, "He that sleepeth in harvest is a son that causeth shame:" and this I dare be bold to say, no greater shame can befall a man, than to see that he hath fooled away his soul, and sinned away eternal life. And I am sure this is the next way to do it; namely, to be slothful; slothful, I say, in the work of salvation. The vineyard of the slothful man, in reference to the things of this life, is not fuller of briers, nettles, and stinking weeds, than he that is slothful for heaven, hath his heart full of heart choking and soul damning sin.

Slothfulness hath these two evils: first, to neglect the time in which it should be getting heaven; and by that means doth, in the second place, bring in untimely repentance. I will warrant you, that he who should lose his soul in this world through slothfulness, will have no cause to be glad thereat, when he comes to hell. Slothfulness is usually accompanied with carelessness; and carelessness is for the most part begotten by senselessness; and senselessness doth again put fresh strength into slothfulness; and by this means the soul is left remediless. Slothfulness shutteth out Christ; slothfulness shameth the soul.

Slothfulness is condemned even by the feeblest of all the creatures. "Go to the ant, thou sluggard, consider her ways and be wise." "The sluggard will not plow, by reason of the cold;" that is, he will not break up the fallow ground of his heart, because there must be some pains taken by him that will do it; "therefore he shall beg in harvest;" that is, when the saints of God shall have their glorious heaven and happiness given to them; but the sluggard "shall have nothing;" that is, be never the better for his crying for mercy; according to that in Matthew xxv. 10 12.

If you would know a sluggard in the things of heaven, compare him with one that is slothful in the things of this world. As 1. He that is slothful is loath to set about the work he should follow; so is he that is slothful for heaven. 2. He that is slothful, is one that is willing to make delays: so is he that is slothful for heaven. 3. He that is a sluggard, any small matter that cometh in between, he will make it a sufficient excuse to keep him off from plying his work; so it is also with him that is slothful for heaven. 4. He that is slothful doeth his work by the halves: and so it is with him that is slothful for heaven. He may almost, but he shall never altogether, obtain perfection of deliverance from hell; he may almost, but he shall never (without he mend) be altogether a saint. 5. They that are slothful do usually lose the season in which things are to be done: and thus it is also with them that are slothful for heaven; they miss the seasons of grace. And therefore, 6. They that are slothful have seldom, or never, good fruit; so also it will be with the soul sluggard. 7. They that are slothful, are chid for the same: so also will Christ deal with those that are not active for him. 'Thou wicked and slothful servant! out of thine own mouth will I judge thee. Thou saidst I was thus, and thus; wherefore then gavest thou not my money to the bank? &c. Take the unprofitable servant, and cast him into utter darkness, where there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.'

What shall I say? 1. Time runs; and will ye be slothful? 2. Much of your lives are past; and will you be slothful? 3. Your souls are worth a thousand worlds; and will ye be slothful? 4. The day of death and judgment is at the door; and will ye be slothful? 5. The curse of God hangs over your heads; and will you be slothful? 6. Besides, the devils are earnest, laborious, and seek by all means every day, by every sin, to keep you out of heaven, and hinder you of salvation; and will you be slothful? 7... Continue reading book >>




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